So…what began as a beautiful day in Hexham took a turn for the worse. I forgot about the whole ‘left side driving’ phenomenon over here and wound up in the stocks. Silver lining: it gave me time to update my blog! Time to talk about the amazing ruins at Roman Corbridge!
Oh my goodness, the granaries! So incredibly well preserved, so extensive, it was truly an experience rounding a wall of hedges to be met with their overwhelming presence. It’s so easy to view a picture of a particular site or structure in a textbook and to underestimate its grandeur; it’s another thing entirely to stand amongst the remains of a once massive Roman fort and to appreciate its magnitude. The granary buildings in particular – offering up beautiful examples of buttresses and what are known as ‘dwarf walls’ in archaeology – immediately evoked this feeling.
Of further interest, we learned from our tour guide, Graeme, that Corbridge underwent many separate building phases under the direction of various cohorts, this being the case at Vindolanda as well. The archaeological evidence to suggest this was made clear in a variety of ways, namely the stratified roadways (one built on top of another, and another, and another…) and the heaving of wall bricks throughout the barracks and other buildings. This really drove home the importance of the site, situated on the Stanegate Road near a river crossing point to the North.
Moving indoors to the on-site museum we were given a private tour of the Corbridge archives where we were given a chance to handle a number of beautifully preserved artifacts. Pottery, glassware, tools, you name it! Touring the museum itself was a great opportunity as well. As a Roman military enthusiast, I was blown away by their exhibit of weapons and armour; truly a pleasure!
Amazing what anaerobic conditions can do to preserve 1900 year old goods, like this piecemeal collection of Roman armour known as lorica segmentata. It was brought to life even further by the interactive video that showed how individual pieces of the armour would flex with the body as soldiers fought. So cool!
All in all it was a wonderful day; it’s hard to believe it’s only day 4 of the field school program. It might sound cliche but I honestly can’t wait to see what the future has in store! Until next time!