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Period 5

Vindolanda and its setting


The conquest of northern Britain

Vindolanda and its northern context

Locations around Vindolanda

Pre-Hadrianic Vindolanda

Period 1

Period 2

Period 3

Period 4

Period 5

Forts and military life



Reading the tablets

about this exhibition

Period V at Vindolanda.  The substantial courtyard building was excavated north of this site

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Period V at Vindolanda.

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© Vindolanda Trust

c. AD 120-?

The barrack block was demolished and the site levelled. Two subsequent buildings have been identified in excavation. One overlay the earlier sequence of buildings on the site. Its plan is very fragmentary because of damage by the ditch of the fort above. The quality of building is superior to previous periods. Stone flags were used extensively and the timbers were larger and better prepared. The extensive evidence for metal working and robust architecture may suggest that the building was a workshop (fabrica).

To the north of this workshop, across a roadway, part of a massive courtyard building has been excavated. It was by far the most lavishly built of all the timber buildings so far examined, with substantial oak base beams, concrete flooring and painted plaster. This might be a praetorium, or might perhaps, suggests the excavator, be accommodation for the emperor Hadrian on his visit to northern Britain in the AD 122.

Only a small number of tablets were recovered from period 5, scattered amongst various rooms of the workshop. They record little evidence for the garrison, though one tablet refers to a decurion, a junior officer in a cavalry unit (299). The first cohort of Tungrians may have continued to provide the garrison since a discharge certificate, issued to a member of the unit in 146, has been found at Vindolanda.

The date of the end of period 5 is not easy to establish, nor its relationship with the next period, when the fort was reduced in size and some if not all buildings were rebuilt in stone. The transition dates to somewhere between c. 120 and the mid second century.

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