36. Was the Vallum continuous?

177773490_052c7ca89aThere were a number of crossing-points or causeways, complete with formal gateways, in its original design and one is on public display at Benwell. These original causeways, where the ditch was never dug, are thought to have been located at every fort or where a major route crossed it, but more were later added, both during the Roman period and after it. The later crossings were made by backfilling part of the mounds into the ditch and may date to the Antonine abandonment of the Wall.

Further reading: Breeze 2006; Symonds and Mason 2009


3 thoughts on “36. Was the Vallum continuous?

  1. Hi Mike. This is Harry, formerly of the “We Dig Vindolanda” volunteer-excavators page. You and I chatted a bit a few years back, After some time out of archaeology for environmental work. I’ve dived back in and am loving being into the Wall again.

    I know your appreciation for “things techie” in helping people understand & experience the Wall. Wanted to tune you into a new piece of software that’s in pre-release Alpha: “Medieval Engineers.” Even though totally unfinished & still being built, it’s already got an amazing world-creation engine. I’ve spent a few weeks putting together Vindolanda as it would have looked in the 3rd C when the 4th Cohort of Gauls was there. Still very much a work in progress, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    A link to the hosting website for the file is here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=432593889.

    The game itself costs money, about $20 U.S. But the hosting site is free, and I’ve put up various screenshots & descriptions of what I’ve been doing.

    It’s possible to put together a full, working fort that a person can walk through and experience for themselves. Even at this early stage I’m really excited by the possibilities. It’s easy to use, and in addition to structures, it has great terraforming abilities (which I need to start getting into to shape the terrain). I have high hopes for this game / sandbox / software / what-have-you, for what it can do to bring things like the Wall to life.

    Anyway, it got me thinking of you & your work. I wanted to send the link along to you as a way of getting back in touch.


  2. Thanks for that, looks interesting. I shall investigate – glad you’re back enjoying the Wall! 🙂

  3. I’ve missed it, I’m realizing just how much now! I’m sorry, by the way, to re-connect awkwardly via comment on a blog post. I mislaid your e-mail address and couldn’t figure a better way to do so! I’ve really been enjoying diving into the blog, and re-reading my copy of Breeze’s “Handbook to the Roman Wall.” And of course this new software has whetted the appetite. It brings up all sorts of questions about what we know, don’t know, and -think- we know on how a fort would have actually been lived in. I’m scratching my head right now on cavalry barracks. What’s been found at Wallsend/South Shields doesn’t relate to the 3rd C stuff at Vindolanda — horses in front, soldiers in back. Not enough room in the buildings uncovered. In my mockup I’ve tried out putting soldiers up in the rafters just above the stables. It works, surprisingly. Correct? Who knows. But it’s turned a thorny problem into a pretty elegant solution, and gets 3 turmae of cavalry easily within the walls alongside 400-500 of their infantry besties.

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