17 April 2012

On the wall

Archaeology is a science, right? *Cough*

Let's pretend it is and check out the 1,900-year-old Roman wall I walked along last week. Here's super-archaeologist Mr Hayley posing next to it.

Hadrian's Wall, near Bardon Mill, Northumberland
We did actually walk the whole thing - that's 84 miles, running from the west to the east coast of England - over the course of six days. (It was tough, although nothing next to what this guy's doing).

I know I could probably have done some better Googling prior to our trip, but I didn't and consequently was quite astonished by the amount of Emperor Hadrian's famous Wall that appears to be intact after almost two millennia. For the first third of our walk, the Wall appeared only sporadically, rising up as long stretches of "hump" reminiscent (to me, at least) of the giant underground worms in Tremors. At the first large chunk of naked wall we encountered, I took pictures from every angle...

Hadrian's Wall, near Banks, Cumbria
But then, on days 3 and 4, lo and behold, there was freakin' miles of it! Sometimes 15 courses high... "Course" being the new word I've learned for "layer of bricks/stones" and which I will endeavour to use as often as possible in the same sentence as "series of small walls". (This sort of thing comes up often enough when you're married to an archaeologist. Just don't mention Time Team.)

Yet more Wall
These Romans, they didn't do things by halves, you know. Not only did they build a wall across *an entire country* - to mark the boundary of their MASSIVE empire, in case anyone wasn't sure - they built it up some pretty steep hills too. It makes sense, of course. If you're building a wall to keep the barbarians out, build it somewhere they're sure as hell not going to attack you. But these hills... phew. And as far as I can tell, Emperor Hadrian only turned up to inspect a few bits. Good job I was never a Roman - I think I might have taken a few detours.