The Vindolanda Trust

The first permanent building onsite of the Roman Vindolanda Fort

A purpose-built space for excavation and post-excavation work

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to excavating the Roman Vindolanda site, The Vindolanda Trust needed to update its dilapidated, temporary sheds with a fit-for-purpose, modern facility. They needed an office and workshop space that would allow volunteers to carry out excavation works all year round.

Cost escalations of bespoke traditional buildings meant that the Trust started to explore sustainable, modular build options with Green Unit.

Heritage and the environment at the forefront of the project

Behind the Trust’s decision making were a number of important factors, such as the building’s design and environmental features, and maintaining the heritage of the millennia-old site.
Of the highest importance was that the building’s design was not only in keeping with -but would enhance -the site’s surrounding archaeological environment.

A low-impact foundation system was also fundamental, as the historical site could not support intrusive foundations.

Custom-built, multipurpose space

The Trust needed their archaeology centre to do a number of things. Primarily, it needed to provide a comfortable space for excavation volunteers and staff to wash, review, and catalogue Roman artefacts.

The space also needed to work for large groups for educational courses and visiting school groups.

Green Unit designed and built a bespoke modular space that incorporated all these requirements including worktop and washing areas, bespoke storage and artefact racks, as well as a private office at one end of the building.

Delivered with “clockwork precision”

Green Unit built the Trust’s ARC II building in a few months, before transporting it 300 miles north to the Roman Vindolanda site in Northumberland.

Despite the strong winds, rain, and narrow stone-wall lined roads leading to the site, Green Unit delivered five sections of the 110sqm building onto the pre-prepared foundations with “clockwork precision”, as described by the Trust.

Robin Birley Archaeology Centre

The eco-building was named after the Trust’s late founding director, Dr. Robin Birley.

The Robin Birley Archaeology Centre was originally commissioned for the Trust’s 50thanniversary celebrations, which sadly were unable to go ahead due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’re delighted with our new Archaeology Centre from Green Unit. The building is quite simply spectacular and is perfectly at home within Vindolanda’s natural landscape.

As a World Heritage Site, sustainability is incredibly important to the Vindolanda Trust, and we felt that there was a great fit with The ARC’s ethos.


Dr.Andrew Birley
CEO and Director of Excavations at The Vindolanda Trust