Lead: Before it was complete, so-called Hadrian’s Wall, built across the narrow land neck in north Britain, was one of the most elaborate border fortifications of the Roman Empire.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The project, begun in CE 122, was extraordinarily complex. The ancient wall stretched 73 miles from sea to sea, from present day Wallsend in Tyneside in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. It ranged upwards to twenty feet tall, from six to ten feet in width, with a stone and masonry façade on either side of a dirt, lime cement and rubble fill. The Romans maintained a rampart on which legionaries could stand keeping watch behind a stone parapet. Immediately in front of the barrier was a v-shaped ditch to deter frontal cavalry attack. Situated at intervals along the fortification were large forts spaced at wide distances, mile castles every mile, and between them two so-called manned turrets. Immediately to the rear of the Wall was a deep trench bounded by two large mounds of dirt. This was the so-called Vallum and it extended almost the entire length of the wall. A debate continues as to the use of this seemingly redundant construct. Perhaps it was used for communication or to keep civilian traffic away from the precincts of the wall itself or perhaps a place for a last ditch defense should the wall itself be breached.

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