The Magna Project is officially opened at the Roman Army Museum with an evening of celebration.

On Saturday 22nd June The Vindolanda Trust welcomed over 100 Friends and invited guests to celebrate the official opening of the £2.5m Magna Project at the Roman Army Museum. The project, supported by £1.6m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has enabled a 5 year research excavation at the adjacent Roman fort of Magna along with an extension to the Roman Army Museum and creation of external activity space housing a sensory yurt. 

Crowd gathers to listen to Vindolanda Trust Patron Robson Green speaking at official event.
Robson Green at opening of Magna Project. Image credit (c) Pete Savin

The museum extension was designed by award winning Northumberland firm Doonan Architects Ltd and principle contractor on the build project was Cubby Construction Ltd, based in Carlisle.  The new museum facilities provide an activity and events space along with a excavation centre for volunteers and staff. The west facing full glass wall enables a commanding view of both the adjacent Magna fort site and from the elevated position you can see as far as the Solway Firth. 

A sculptural fire beacon, sited in the new external event space was designed by The FirePit Company, the cylindrical design is a nod to a Roman milestone. To mark this milestone occasion it was lit by The Vindolanda Trust Patron Robson Green. Robson Green commented “The Magna Project is not just about digging in the dirt. It’s about breaking new ground both literally and metaphorically. Experienced archeologists, along with volunteers from all walks of life, are able to come here and have the opportunity to unearth pieces of history that will shed a profound light on the lives of so many people who once walked these very grounds”

Close inspection of the Magna beacon
Robson Green inspects the Magna fire beacon. Image credit (c) Pete Savin

The research excavation of Milecastle 46, Hadrian’s Wall vallum and its diversion along with Magna fort continues until 2027. Beyond the 5-year excavation a series of deep probes will remain in situ to monitor the impact of our changing climate on the buried archaeology. 

Crowd of people gather to listen to archaeologist Rachel Frame talk at dig site.
Crowd gathers listening to archaeologist Rachel Frame talk at Magna dig site. Image credit (c) Pete Savin

The Roman Army Museum is open 7 days a week with an action packed events programme for summer including, archery, falconry, re-enactments and the opportunity to witness live archaeology.

The Vindolanda Trust would like to thank: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Doonan Architects, Cubby Construction Ltd, BT Bell Ltd, Sine Consulting, QS Dimensions Ltd, Graham Ash Joinery, The FirePit Company, Red Kite Yurts, Agydo Works, Friends of Vindolanda & National Lottery players.

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