The 'Tablets' area of the website is
primarily based on Volume II of the Vindolanda writing tablets,
published by Alan Bowman and David Thomas in 1994 (The Vindolanda Writing Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses II), London: British Museum Press). It also incorporates material from volume I of the writing tablets (Vindolanda: the Latin writing tablets (1983, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies) and introduces new material. The website is now the definitive edition of the Vindolanda writing tablets published in Volumes I and II. For purposes of academic reference, the site should be referred to as:
'Vindolanda Tablets Online http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/'
Individual tablets should be referred to using the numbering sequence begun in Volume II, e.g. Tab. Vindol. II 343.
Online editions of individual tablets may be cited in the form http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/TVII-291 (Tab. Vindol. II 291)
The following text describes in more detail the relationship of
the online edition to the print publications. Please note that the
material taken from Volume II is the copyright
of the British Museum Press and material from volume I is the copyright
of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.
The Vindolanda ink tablets excavated in the 1970s and 1980s have
been published in two volumes by Alan Bowman and David Thomas. The
first volume, Vindolanda: the Latin writing tablets (1983,
Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies), published the tablets
excavated in the 1970s(numbers 1 to 117). In 1994 the second, The
Vindolanda Writing Tablets (Tabulae Vindolandenses II,
abbreviated to Tab. Vindol. II) (British Museum Press)
published the tablets excavated in the 1980s (numbers 118- 573).
The tablets (nos. 574-850) from excavations of the 1990s will be
published by the British Museum Press in 2003 (Tab. Vindol.
Numbering and reference
The details of the numbering system should be noted. The tablets
published in volume I were republished in volume II, since a larger
corpus of texts and increased familiarity with the script demanded
that many earlier readings be substantially revised. The tablets
from volume I were also given new numbers in the volume II sequence.
Please use the numbering sequence from Volume II (to be continued
in Volume III) to refer to individual tablets. The suggested form
of reference for an individual tablet is Tab. Vindol. XX,
e.g. Tab. Vindol. 343.
There is also another sequence of numbers by which the tablets
are sometimes referred to, those given in the Vindolanda archaeological
inventory during excavation, initially in the 1970s as numbers alone,
e.g. 45, 117, later prefixed by the year of discovery, e.g. 85.210.
This inventory also includes blank ink tablets and stylus tablets.
These archaeological inventory numbers are used in the publications
that preceded the publications of volume II and III. The Tab.
Vindol. II sequence is the default sequence used in the website
but it is also possible to use numbers from the other sequences
Texts and notes
The text, translations and notes of each tablet are as published
in Tab. Vindol. II. There are a small number of modifications.
In the few cases where leaf divisions were not indicated in the
print edition they have now been added, but line numbering remains
the same. Some 'descripta' (i.e. tablets bearing text from which
little sense could be recovered) have been reformatted so as to
separate text from notes. Some changes have also been made to the
representation of papyrological conventions for ease of online
delivery. The appendix to volume
II, discussing different readings of the texts published by
A. Birley, is also included at the end of the Vol. II Introductory
In some cases new readings of the tablets published in volumes
I and II have been made on the basis of the new digital images.
The existence of a revised reading is explicitly indicated in the
entry for the individual tablet with a link to the addenda and corrigenda.
Click on the link to see these. The addenda
and corrigenda may also be accessed from the side-navigation
bar in the tablets database. These will also be published as an
appendix to the Vindolanda Writing Tablets Volume III.
The notes pertaining to individual tablets published in volume
I were not reprinted in volume II. However cross-reference was still
made to them. These notes have therefore been included separately
in the database. In the individual tablet entry their existence
is signalled by a clickable link. Please be aware however that some
of the Volume I notes are now superseded. You must therefore cross-check
with the notes published in volume II and the new revised readings,
based on the digital images, to determine which remain relevant.
For all the descripta however (as published in Volume II)
minor editorial changes have been made to amalgamate the two sets
Images and metadata
All the tablets are illustrated by new digital images, captured
directly from the tablets themselves in a scanning
programme at the British Museum from 2000 to 2002. Some metadata,
including titles for each document, were created specifically for
the website, for enabling certain types of search and for compatibility
with other databases of ancient documents, including APIS
and other corpora under development at the CSAD.
The introductory chapters to volume II
discuss the site and its archaeological context, the Roman army,
and the format and script of the tablets. The
introductions to the individual categories of documents, military
reports, accounts and lists, correspondence related to particular
individuals and descripta are also provided. The
introductory chapters to volume I also contain discussion that
is still relevant, in particular in chapters 1 (sections B, C, D),
2 and 4 and have therefore also been made available. In some respects
however they have been superseded by the introduction to volume
II and Adams' discussion of the Latinity. Please therefore cross-check
their content with more recent discussion.
Some changes have also been made to the formatting of the introductory
chapters for ease of online presentation and cross-reference. Individual
chapters have been divided into separate sections and footnotes
have been converted to hyperlinks. Click on the note number to open
a new page which will take you to the relevant note. Cross-references
to other chapters have also been turned into hyperlinks. Cross-references
to tablet numbers take you to the entry for that tablet within the
database. Use the back button of your browser to return you to your
previous location or use the side-bar to navigate. The individual
introductory chaoters are also available as PDFs for downloading
The bibliography includes the references
from volume II. This may be accessed from the sidebar or from individual
tablet entries. The list of abbreviations
from volume I is appended to the introductory chapters from
A full set of images of tablets from the 1990s will be made available on the website
to accompany volume III. At a later date an online edition of the
Volume III texts, translations and commentaries will be added to the
website. The editors may also make future changes to the online edition,
based for example on more plausible alternative readings, new images
or new contextual material. Any change will be explicitly signalled
in the site News.