Housesteads Roman Fort ***

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Granary ruins at Housesteads Roman Fort cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Neil Theasby -


Open all year round and set high on a dramatic escarpment on Hadrian's Wall, this fantastic site takes you back to the Roman Empire.

Wander the barrack blocks and the hospital. Peer into the ancient communal Roman toilets and admire the stunning panoramic views of this World Heritage Site from this ancient fortress.

The interactive museum showcases objects once belonging to Roman soldiers, and the mini-cinema will take you on a journey through time. A fort was built in stone around AD 124 and was repaired and rebuilt several times, its northern defences being particularly prone to collapse. A substantial civil settlement (vicus) existed to the south, outside the fort, and some of the stone foundations can still be seen, including the so-called "Murder House", where two skeletons were found beneath an apparently newly-laid floor when excavated.

© Copyright Oliver Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

In the 2nd century AD, the garrison consisted of an unknown double-sized auxiliary infantry cohort and a detachment of legionaries from Legio II Augusta. In the 3rd century, it comprised Cohors I Tungrorum, augmented by the numerus Hnaudifridi and the Cuneus Frisiorum, a Frisian cavalry unit, cuneus referring to a wedge formation. The Tungrians were still there in the 4th century, according to the Notitia Dignitatum. By 409 AD the Romans had withdrawn.