Friday, September 30, 2011


30 September 2011

We had a lovely time in Northumberland last week. We were staying in the tiny hamlet of Thorngrafton, just South of Hadrian’s Wall – no far from the town of Haltwhistle, which claims to be the Centre of Britain. We did some great walks along the Wall, in Allendale and on the banks of Keilder Water. We visited the Housesteads and Vindolanda Roman forts. Vindolanda was particularly interesting – lots to see and new discoveries being made all the time. The collection of wooden tablets with messages inscribed on them in Latin was fascinating – the banality of many of the messages (an invitation to a party, a request to borrow something etc) reminding us that people in Roman Britain were not that different to ourselves (these tablets being the emails of their day!). I was also reminded that most of the ‘Romans’ building and protecting Hadrian’s Wall were not from Rome: they were mostly soldiers from conquered territories in Belgium and the Netherlands. Young men from Britain were similarly pressed into service as Roman soldiers in other corners of the Empire. 

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