72. Has the Military Road destroyed all of Hadrian’s Wall beneath it?

Although it is usually assumed the Military Road completely destroyed the curtain wall, the evidence for this assertion is in fact mixed. The construction gangs in the early 1750s were certainly breaking up the remains of the wall to make the road surface and the flanking field walls. However, a famous section of the wall foundation was often visible in the road, on the hill at Walwick, just west of Chesters fort, before it was surfaced (it was certainly still visible in 1906 when Maria Hoyer saw it, but gone by 1921 when Jessie Mothersole was there). Similarly, excavations at the western end of Heddon-on-the-Wall located the remains of the curtain wall below the modern tarmac. In addition, it is recorded that, in 1926, some 60yds (55m) of curtain wall were grubbed up near Heddon-on-the-Wall when the modern road was being repaired. However, Collingwood Bruce noted that the foundations were often removed to provide material to repair the surface metalling of the road.

Further reading: Hoyer 1908; Mothersole 1922; Whitworth 2000