Current research


Excavation of the many amazing sites along Hadrian’s Wall is an ongoing process and each year archaeologists, historians and a team of enthusiastic volunteers unearth new finds and contribute fresh and fascinating details to our knowledge of the Roman era. The learning never ends.


Vindolanda’s rolling excavation programme

Vindolanda is an extremely significant Hadrian’s Wall site with at least nine forts and settlements. Since 1970 the Vindolanda Trust has run an active archaeological research programme with excavations taking place every year for 46 years. In that time some truly remarkable objects have been found. These discoveries include the Vindolanda Writing Tablets, small wafer-thin postcards containing personal accounts, lists and letters, as well as a vast hoard of other personal items.

Each year the excavation programme involves 500 volunteers from all walks of life and all over the world. Visitors to the site can get right up close to the excavation areas, chat with archaeologists and volunteers, and see new discoveries being made.  All the objects found on this special site are conserved and researched, then the highlights are displayed in the Vindolanda museum.

Vindolanda excavations take place between April and September every year (Mon-Fri). Sign up to volunteer on the excavations.

Wall Watch volunteers

A group of dedicated local volunteers help to look after Hadrian’s Wall and to ensure it survives for future generations to enjoy. Trained by professional archaeologists, each volunteer makes regular inspections of sections of the monument, taking photographs and recording any changes in condition. These records enable the professional archaeologists to assess any damage and to take remedial action.

Alongside excavations at Maryport, Ravenglass and in Tyneside, this most famous and well known of ancient sites continues to surprise and bring a dramatic period of national history to life.

Roman road unearthed at Housesteads

A major new Roman discovery was made at Housesteads while work was being done to extend the site’s car park. The archaeological remains indicate that a Roman road once existed in this spot. Work was immediately stopped to let experts from Northumberland National Park take a look. Archaeologists began to clean and record the stonework and fragments of Roman pottery that had been found. A full comprehensive study is now taking place but early findings suggest the presence of historic road surface and edging cut into the natural substrate. The road runs north-west to south-east and appears to be overlain by the present B6318 Military Road.

The Written Rock of Gelt - New Discoveries 

Recently you might have noticed a number of reports in the national media following the finding of new inscriptions and graffiti carved into the rock face of a Roman Quarry in Cumbria - here are some early scans of the findings that allow us to get unprecedented access to these inscriptions. 

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