Hadrian's Wall - The Roman Empire Stops Here
For us, the most essential element of our Newcastle visit was our exploration of the expanse of Hadrian's Wall and the associated fortresses along the northern border of the former Roman Empire. This had been on our list of places to visit since we studied Latin in high school!
So, early one morning, we rode a bus west to Hexham and from there, a special 'Wall Bus' took us through the lovely expanses of the Northumbrian moors. As we rode we were enchanted watching the grey stone of the wall as it ran over hill and dale.
Our first stop was Housesteads Roman Fort, one of the few forts that actually encompassed a section of the wall. At the visitor center we viewed a model of what they think the place looked like.
After entering the site, we first made our way to the section that was actually part of the wall. The views along the wall and into the distance really told the story of the place for us.
Later we explored other areas of the site, viewing the foundations of former officers buildings, troop living quarters, kitchens and workshops.
Due perhaps to the excellent Roman engineering along with more recent stabilization efforts, the wall is in amazingly good condition, so much so that visitors were allowed to walk along or even on top of it!.
Another short ride on the "Wall Bus' took us to Vindolanda, a former Roman commercial town, built to support the fortresses along the wall. It is still a working archaeological site with scientists making new discoveries all the time.
After touring the site, we visited the museum where the artifacts found on the site are displayed. Notable is a large number of Roman era shoes, found in amazingly good condition.
In the late afternoon, we boarded the "Wall Bus" to head back to Newcastle and the 21st century, feeling that, for a brief moment, we had traveled a few millennia back in time. We have explored many other Roman archaeological sites in our travels but Hadrian's Wall brought us closer to an understanding of life back then than we have experienced before! Perhaps the ghosts of the Roman legionaires linger still!
Click here to return to our 'Newcastle Upon Tyne - So Much to Enjoy Here ! ' page
Click here to return to our 'Summer 2016 - Back to Europe' page