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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

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Tablets, tablets everywhere
Topic Started: Nov 20 2006, 02:25 PM (1,106 Views)
Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Ah the tablets,

Well, we don't keep them at Vindolanda as we (the Vindolanda Trust) struck a deal with the BM back in the early 1970's, and to not put too fine a point on it, although the deal was a lousy one in modern terms, it meant that the Vindolanda Trust could survive and more tablets could be found and the whole of the scholraly community of Roman Britain would benefit from their discovery. As such the BM now owns the tablets.

However, that's not to say that one day we might not get some of them back, nor to say that the ones that we will be finding this year will go to the BM immediately. The problem remains for a small underfunded museum and research establishment on how we can afford to keep them. They need a lot of TLC. The cases that store up to 250 tablets in the BM cost c 300.000 each, and there are over 1500 tablets. Also there is the whole security issue, just how much is the earliest surviving hand writen letter from Britain worth? The answer is that it is priceless. It has alway been the worst part of the job, to see the tablets leave, and the staff at Vindolanda feel that they get precious little respect or credit from the wider archaeological community for thier efforts in finding and preserving these documents. At the BM there is little faded photo of the site, and it is an out of date photo at that. So for Vindolanda to present the BM the tablets is a difficult but important duty. Perhaps some day we will be in the position to do something about it, alas that day is not today.


Andy
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
[ *  * ]
Hi Duncan,

I hear you.

There is a pressure movement growing in the North to get the tablets back. What is important is that they don't just come back to the north, but they come back to Vindolanda, where they belong, but there is always hope. What we must do this year, is find some more.....


Andy
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