Adventure No. 1

Hello again! My first impressions after landing in Northern England was that England was very green and dotted with numerous sheep, and this was confirmed today during our first big adventure: visiting the Housesteads Fort and hiking Hadrian’s wall. We started our day bright and early with a tour of the Housesteads museum and fort.  One of our first challenges today was to identify what caused these indentations/holes in a wall were. We were stumped: do you want to try and identify them? (Comment with your best guesses and we’ll reveal the answers tomorrow!)

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A water storage tank at Housesteads with three features we identified and discussed. Can you guess what they were?

One of the things I enjoyed seeing the most about the fort at Housesteads was the small details from daily life that made the site more personal (and I’m sure we’ll see more of that once we start excavating at Vindolanda proper). One example of this was a hole and ditch in one of the stones at the entrance to the site; the wearing of the stone here shows where the original gate to the site was located. Such a small, almost mundane detail is what brings these sites to life for me.

A stone showing where the original gate post and gate of the fort would have been.


The start of our hike.

The next stage of our adventure was our approximately 12.6 km hike along Hadrian’s Wall- or 18 000 steps or 96 flights of stairs according to Aline’s iPhone health app. This hike showed us the gorgeous landscapes of northern rural England, including sheep, forests, lakes, cliffs, and rolling hills.

In addition to this diverse splendor of natural beauty, we saw Hadrian’s wall, milecastles, and turrets. What I found astounding was the sheer extent of the ruins. This was visible in both the thickness of the milecastle walls (approximately 8-10 feet thick), and the length of Hadrian’s wall over the landscape.

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Our group behind the gate of a milecastle.
Dr. Greene in front of another milecastle.






The extensive, picturesque landscape that Hadrian’s wall covers.


At the end of the day, we had our first taste of Roman forts and our first glimpse’s of England’s beauty. We also had our personal triumph over the tremendous hills and valleys, reached the highest point on Hadrian’s wall, and had a successful first adventure. Make sure to  stay updated for the answers to our earlier question!




5 thoughts on “Adventure No. 1

  1. Answers: This building was a water storage tank.
    The red circle: this mark was created by the wearing of a rope for a bucket that was dipped into the tank. It is the deepest and thinnest mark on the wall.
    The orange indentations: this mark, and the others beside it, were created by people leaning against the side of the water storage tank. Accordingly, this indentation is much wider and much shallower than the bucket mark in the red circle.
    The green circle: this is a water pipe that brought water to the storage tank.

  2. What a great post, Victoria! Thanks for some wonderful photos and really good writing. I really enjoy being a vicarious field schooler, from back here in London ON.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the post and photos Dr. Suksi. It’s great to know that people are reading about the field school and participating from afar.

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