Latrines at Housesteads

Latrines at Housesteads, Hadrian's Wall

This evening, I am focusing on one of the most popular visitor attractions on the Hadrian’s Wall site, namely the Housesteads Roman Fort which is about 30 miles from Wallsend.

Very briefly, Hadrian’s Wall was the main element of a frontier which ran coast to coast across northern Britain (now England). The Wall was 73 miles long was built by the Roman Army using a labor force of some 10,000 men over a period of 10 years and was completed around AD132. It was abandoned for the period AD142 AD 162 and thereafter, for the next 250 years, was the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire.

Housesteads is one of 16 forts along the line of Hadrian’s Wall. An image of the remains of the Wall at Housesteads is shown below.

Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads

Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads, England

Housesteads fort covers an area of two hectares and  complies with the standard ‘playing card’ design of Roman forts.  A video clip of the interior can be found here.  There are four entrance gates (north, south,east and west), a Commanding Officer’s House, a Headquarters Building, Workshop, Bath House, Hospital, Granaries, Barrack Blocks, a Storeroom and Latrine (see top image).  The fort is strategically well placed, on a steep natural escarpment which provides a natural defence from the (hostile) north. Internally, there is sophisticated water supply system to feed the baths and latrine with stone water tanks still in situ.

Typically, the complement of military would comprise a cohort of infantry (480 men) or an ala of cavalry (500-1000 men plus mounts).  A mix of both categories was possible. The Wall was not intended as a defensive barrier but as a base for military excursions (pre-emptive strikes) into hostile territory to the north,

I thoroughly enjoy touring Hadrian’s Wall and environs. Here is a blog record of a tour from 2010. I may even achieve my personal objective of either walking or cycling along the Wall this year.

Elsewhere today, I have:

  • Designed a new page for my main website.
  • Responded to an enquiry for a private, ancestry themed tour of Scotland. 
  • Visited a local cemetery to gain more data for my GlasgowAncestry blog.
Be Sociable, Share!