Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hadrian's Wall dig unearths Roman refugee camp

A major dig close to Hadrian's Wall has revealed traces of a suspected refugee camp which would have housed tribespeople fleeing south from a breakdown of society north of the imperial border in the third century AD.

Archaeologists were initially puzzled to unearth the foundations of temporary but well-built structures on the site of an earlier fort within the sprawling perimeter of the Roman fortress of Vindolanda.

The director of excavations at the site, Dr Andrew Birley, said: "These are very unusual buildings and it looks as though they may number into the hundreds. Events clearly took place here on a large scale to lead to this sort of construction."

Records for the garrison at the "white field" between Hexham and Haltwhistle in Northumberland do not suggest Roman troop reinforcements needing so much space, with the invasion force mustering all along the wall.

More at The Guardian