Tyne & Wear

Northumberland's Vindolanda centre gets £6.3m revamp

Roman writing tablets at Vindolanda
Image caption New displays house some of the writing tablets at Vindolanda

A major tourist attraction in Northumberland has reopened to the public after a £6.3m revamp.

Vindolanda and the adjoining Roman Army Museum on Hadrian's Wall near Hexham, is home to the oldest surviving handwritten tablets in Britain.

New additions include an education centre and revamped galleries.

Most of the work was paid for with a £4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A formal opening ceremony is due to take place next month.

The Roman Army Museum will house a 3D film - The Eagle's Eye, which tells the story of a Roman soldier called Aquila and how he adjusts to life as an auxiliary guard in Britain.

Patricia Birley, director of the Vindolanda Trust, said: "We are thrilled about the developments and are confident that they will have a significant contribution to the region's economy."

'Historically important'

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East, Ivor Crowther added: "Both sites provide visitors with a snapshot of the ancient world and now.

"The visitor experience will befit such a historically important place and encourage people to learn more about our Roman history."

The writing tablets detail hundreds of expenses claimed by Roman officials.

The wooden tablets - which date from the 2nd Century - were discovered at a Roman encampment near Hadrian's Wall in 1973.

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