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Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
August 16, 2004
The small section of the thirty acre settlement so far excavated stands directly outside, hemmed in by small wire fences on three sides and a tall hedge on the other. Stanegate, the original main street, cuts through the centre of the football-pitch-sized site, replaced as the main route between Corbridge and Carlisle by the main road hidden behind the hedge and the trains cutting through the fields in the valley below, the undulating green of Northumberland spotted with white sheep and yellow crops. At the far end of the road, framed between tall trees and low lying cloud, the pointed rooftops of Corbridge are visible; the tall, slender spire of St Andrew's an arrow amongst the neatly ordered rows of ivy-clad cottages, craft shops and cosy antique pubs.
The only surviving Roman stone fence in Britain - a single rectangular block of stone slotted vertically into a gap 20 centimetres wide and 40 centimetres high – is squeezed between one of the granaries and the Fountain House, once the terminus for an aqueduct leading from the nearby river, water spouting from an ornamental fountain head into a front trough between two large statues. Only the base and side sections of the trough remain today, rough statue bases either side, a diagonal drainage channel in front and the floor of the wide aqueduct channel cutting through the grass behind.
At the end of Stanegate, in the corner where the Corbridge Hoard of fire damaged armaments was discovered, a wooden viewing terrace overlooks the site, timber fort and granaries to the right, military garrison on the left, and Stanegate stretching back across to the museum building. The uneven outlines of residential buildings now barely rising above grass level trace a route through Side Street, twenty-metres wide and linked to Stanegate before the construction of a wall to enclose the compounds in the wake of the northern uprising of 180AD. Left, across the ruins of the Temple of Mithras, step through the low remains of long barrack buildings for the West Military Compound, made up of workshops, a headquarters building and an upright stone slab - the sole remaining section of a huge water tank that was connected to the Fountain House building.
From journal How The North Was Won
South Florida, Florida
November 23, 2000
Price: adult £2.80
From journal A journey to and around Leicester