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

Seite: 171
Zitierlink: i
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen
1 cm


the centre that there were several lines superposed one over the other.
The most successful section showed seven or eight lines, covering about
2J feet vertically and extending for 12 feet horizontally : a single black
line extended further at each end of the 12 feet. These lines closely
resembled those found on the Scotch wall, and were taken to represent a
turf wall of regularly laid sods. The lines themselves consist (as microscopic
and other examination showed) of vegetable matter: the interspaces of
white or grey "clay" are the natural soil of the sods, decomposed and
bleached by the layers of vegetable matter. The turf wall was probably
12 or 15 feet thick at the base, though fallen sods have extended the black
lines beyond this width : its height cannot now be determined. Like the
Scotch wall, it had a berm between it and the ditch, probably 10 feet wide:
unlike it, it had no stone foundation. The sods appear to have been laid
face downwards, to have been cut with " feather edges," and to have been
laid so as to break the joints, in each case, of the layer below. This turf
wall was traced for nearly a mile towards Birdoswald. Near the fort it
faded out. The ditch was, however, found underground in 1896-8 close to
the fort both on its east and its west sides, and was also shown to have passed
across its area. All traces of the turves seemed to have vanished, but a
stone drain was found in such a position that it might have been laid
across and under them. East of the fort the turf wall (as represented
by the ditch) rejoins the stone wall from which it diverged near Appletree.
The object of the work is as yet unexplained. Mr. C. J. Bates suggested,
even before the turf wall was found, that a murus caespiticius was first built
by Hadrian from Tyne to Solway and the existing stone wall constructed
afterwards, mainly on the top of it but diverging near Birdoswald. This
theory is still tenable, with some modifications, but hitherto no trace of a
turf wall, has been found elsewhere than at Birdoswald, and it is some-
what dangerous to assume that the only divergence of the two walls was at
Birdoswald. The character of the remains suggests that the turf wall at
Birdoswald was purposely demolished, but beyond this its history is at
present obscure.

Another discovery of the Cumberland Committee deserves notice. At
Gilsland, two miles east of Birdoswald, the vallum crosses some boggy
ground, and here the earthwork appears to be sustained by a foundation
of largish stones. These somewhat resemble a rough roadway, and were
indeed first taken to be such, but their position in the line of the vallum
indicates that they were really a foundation. They form a layer, averaging
12 feet wide, of large freestones, cobble, and gravel ; the larger stones are
on the outside, though they do not form very regular kerbs.

Fuller descriptions will be found in the Eeports of the excavations, printed
in the Transactions of the Cumberland and "Westmoreland Archaeological
Society (xiv. 187 and 426; xv. 180 and 345), and in articles by Mrs. T. H.
Hodgson in the same Transactions (xiv. 399; xv. 201). F. H.
loading ...