17. How was Hadrian’s Wall built?

A question with several possible answers. It used to be thought that it was simply built from east to west, but in recent years that assumption has been challenged. Scholars now think the army marched up Dere Street (now the A68) and divided once they reached the line of the planned construction, part starting building westwards, part eastwards.

As for how the curtain wall was actually constructed, it has been suggested that both dressed faces of the wall were constructed at the same time as the undressed core and that, once it reached above the height at which men could safely lift blocks of stone (about chest height), it would have been essential to employ scaffolding (putlog holes for which have been noted at Thorny Doors: NY 722 668).

Further reading: Hill 2006; Symonds and Mason 2009