A NEW £300,000 archaeology excavation centre is soon to be transported to a Northumberland Roman Fort.

Vindolanda Roman Fort has commissioned Green Unit, based in Oxfordshire, to manufacture the new structure. The Arc II is being built off-site in a factory-controlled environment and will be delivered to the site virtually complete in five road-transportable pod sections at the beginning of March.

It will then be unveiled on April 1 to coincide with the Vindolanda Trust’s 50th birthday.

The building will be sustainable, using environmentally-friendly processes and materials, and is designed to be highly insulated and airtight.

The plan is for this new facility to be used all year round, unlike the previous wooden sheds which the trust has used.

Outside the excavation season, the building will be a classroom for educational visits, a base for archaeological workshops and post-excavation research.

The Arc II building has no foundations it will be placed on an existing concrete pad on the site – ensuring no impact on the archaeological site.

The building, which will been named after the trust’s late founding director Dr Robin Birley, will be officially opened by Professor Anthony Birley.

Dr Andrew Birley said: “As the Vindolanda Trust turns 50 it is a time to not only reflect on how much we have achieved since 1970, but also look forward to the next 50 years.

“The new Robin Birley archaeology centre will be a huge asset to the trust as we continue our world-famous excavation programme.

“It enables volunteers from all around the world to take part in uncovering more of our remarkable site.”

Jonathan Finnerty, managing director of manufacturing firm Green Unit, said: “The Green Unit ARC will look perfectly at home on the site, blending seamlessly into the natural surroundings, and maintaining the sustainability of the site for future generations.”