Vindolanda: uncovering the secrets of a Roman fort

One of the best-known Roman structures that still exists outside of Rome itself is the long defensive wall that snakes from the Solway Firth to Newcastle across the north of England: Hadrian’s Wall.  Just south of the wall, in Northumberland, the remains of a Roman fort are being uncovered.  Vindolanda’s story is ever-evolving: each summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers uncover more of the fort, discovering buried structures and artefacts that continue to enrich our knowledge of this amazing site.  The most precious of all things found at Vindolanda – miraculously preserved due to the damp nature of much of the site – are the little wooden tablets with their written accounts of life on the Roman Empire’s northernmost frontier.

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The Roman girl buried beneath a London landmark

30 St Mary Axe – better known by its nickname “The Gherkin” – is one of the most distinctive skyscrapers in London.  It stands on the site of the old Baltic Exchange, which was badly damaged by a Provisional IRA bomb in 1992 and subsequently demolished.  It was during excavations taking place prior to the construction of the Gherkin that, in 1995, the skeleton of a Roman Londoner who had lain undisturbed for 1,600 years was discovered.

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A Roman house and baths hidden under the streets of London

Lower Thames Street isn’t exactly a promising-looking place when it comes to searching for relics of Roman-era London.  The wide, busy road cuts through the City, and the buildings that line it are mostly modern, concrete and uninspiring.  Yet underneath one of these buildings something wonderful has been preserved: the ruins of a Roman bath house.

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