Our next regular meeting will be Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 7pm at Santa Rita Cantina's central location, 1206 W 38th St (26 Doors shopping center). Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, except June and December. They are free and open to the public. For those who wish to come early, we gather around 5:45 PM for dinner, drinks, and fellowship. The short business meeting starts at 7:00 PM, followed by the guest speaker's presentation.

The April program will feature Dr. Craig Mayer, archeologist and wine merchant, on

Vindolanda (A World Heritage Site in Northern England) - Overview and 2018 Excavations

Vindolanda is an important Roman military site several miles south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England. Vindolanda was established as one of a chain of forts along the Stanegate (the primary East-West track in that part of Britain) on the northern Roman frontier of the province of Britannia in the late 1st Century AD. Vindolanda predates the neighboring Hadrian's Wall military zone by 150 years.

The fort was occupied, razed by the army and abandoned, then reoccupied, rebuilt, re-razed and abandoned some nine times, in response to changes in Roman frontier policy and border protection strategies. Consequently, the site is somewhat of a "layer cake" of turf/wood and stone-built Roman forts, one built on top of the other from the time of the first fort's construction in the mid-70s AD until final abandonment by the army in the early 400s AD. Some of the excavation trenches in past seasons have been over 15-18 feet deep.

Upon abandonment, using the extensive, deep and broad military ditches that surrounded each fort as trash dumps, and because of the waterlogged, anaerobic nature of much of the material in these deep ditches (helped along by thick layers of clay being deposited over the remains of an earlier fort, to level the ground up by builders of a successor fort), remarkable artifacts (that would not normally survive) have been recovered from the site, including many personal and official letters and documents, as well as over 6,000 leather shoes and boots (men's, women's, and children's).

One of the most important personal documents is the earliest birthday invitation in existence, written partially by a scribe and partially by the hand of the wife (Claudia Severa) of the commandant of a nearby fort (Carvoran?) inviting the wife (Sulpicia Lepidina) of Vindolanda's commandant (Cerialis) to her birthday party on September 11, AD 99 (or AD 100).

Vindolanda is an extraordinary site, with a new five-year excavation program begun in April 2018. The new program will examine the Severan period ditches (AD 200-212) on the north side of the Severan fortlet and the dozens of mysterious small stone-built round houses built adjacent to the fortlet on the east.

This presentation provides an extensive overview of Vindolanda, its context on the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, the Roman Army and the troops who occupied the series of forts, and explores a range of artifacts recovered from the site. It also presents an overview of the 2018 excavations.

The site has such a rich and complex history, that this presentation is intended as Part I of a two-part series about Vindolanda. Part II takes an even deeper dive into this remarkable World Heritage Site and can be presented at a future time.

Craig Mayer, photo courtesy of himself.

Wondering what our programs are like? View the list of speakers and topics we've had since 2006.


March 23: Llano Uplift Archeological Society Fair, 1010 Circle Dr., Kingsland, Texas 78639

April 22: Rock Art authority Carolyn Boyd (Texas State University and Shumla School) will speak at 4:30 pm as part of the University of Texas Mesoamerican Studies Colloquium in the Doty Fine Arts Building, Room DFA2.204.

June 8-15: Texas Archeological Society Field School, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

October 11-13: Texas Archeological Society Annual Meeting, Amarillo