6. What did the surrounding landscape look like when Hadrian’s Wall was built?

Analysis of fossil pollen retrieved from a number of sites around Hadrian’s Wall has produced consistent evidence that the region was first cleared of woodland during the Bronze Age. This seems to have continued and increased in scale during the Late Iron Age (300 BC to AD 43) and early Roman period (AD 43 to 122). Such clearance reflects the spread of agriculture and the pollen evidence indicates both arable and pastoral farming, whilst charred plant remains from archaeological excavations reveal the use of barley and spelt in the Roman period. This evidence, together with aerial photographs showing field systems cut by the Wall, shows that it was a rural landscape into which Hadrian’s Wall was introduced.

Further reading: Symonds and Mason 2009; Mason 2010

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