Glasgow Archaeological Society   [Hrsg.]
The Antonine Wall report: being an account of excavations, etc., made under the direction of the Glasgow Archæological Society during 1890 - 93 — Glasgow, 1899

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the antonine wall report.


Bonnyside.—Section No. 2a. PLATE V.
Mr. Russell's Structural Experiment.

Mr. James Russell,1 of Longcroft, who most obligingly, and
with zealous interest, superintended the workmen employed in
making the sections at Seabeg, Bonnyside, and Roughcastle,
conceived the idea that, if the soil between the kerbs of the
vallum and the limits of debris were built up above the vallum,
making allowance for the necessary batter of the external faces,
he would thereby reach an approximation of the original height.
He put his theory to the test, but as the material proved less
tractable than he had expected, and as at first an insufficient
allowance for the batter was made, the experiment cannot be
founded upon as scientifically successful. This restoration, as
it were, of a small portion of the wall, was attempted at a
point 327 yards east of Bonnyside section No. 2. In making his
structural experiment, Mr. Russell faced the outside of the work
with sods, filling up the interior with the loose earth which lay
around in the talus of the vallum. Of course, only a limited
number of sods was available within the restricted area, from
which they were thus taken. There were from 22 to 25 rows
of sods in the restoration, averaging between 5 and 6 inches.
The height of the structure when reared was about 10 feet;
its batter was about f; and it was 9 feet 6 inches wide on
the top.

Permanent stability was, of course, little thought of, and was
not ensured by the method of construction resorted to, and not
long after the erection Mr. Russell reported that the autumn
gales of 1891 had done "a good deal of mischief to the peat
stack." The " peat stack"—an epithet borrowed from one
of the workmen—was Mr. Russell's jocular name for his
restoration. The term not inaptly described its outward
appearance, and the mossy character of the soil for the most part
composing it. In 1891 and 1892 it served capitally the objective

JHe died on 11th November, 1891, to the deep regret of the locality in which
he lived, and of all who knew his sterling and truly attractive qualities alike of
heart and head.
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