A selection of the tablets will go on temporary show at Vindolanda
"Postcards" written by Roman soldiers stationed in Northumberland are to be returned to the county.
The Vindolanda Tablets, named after the camp on Hadrian's Wall, are currently held in The British Museum in London.
Using a £4m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, a gallery is to be created at Vindolanda allowing some of them to be returned on temporary loan.
The tablets are among the earliest examples of the written word discovered in Britain.
They include a birthday party invitation from a commander's wife, while another reveals that soldiers wore underpants to keep warm in the northern winter.
The grant will enable the Vindolanda Trust to link Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum as well as create new galleries and an education centre.
It will also allow some of the collection of other finds, currently held in storage, to go on public display.
Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd, said: "The contribution that this award will make to the interpretation of Roman communication and the multi-cultural nature of the Romans in Britain cannot be understated.
"The trust will finally be able to display the Vindolanda Tablets, this country's most significant historical find, and share their importance with a much wider audience."