Hadrian’s Wall: unfinished ditch at Limestone Corner

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Hadrian’s Wall, Limestone Corner © David Gill

One of the reminders of the difficulty in constructing Hadrian’s Wall can be seen at Limestone Corner (MC30), to the east of Carrawburgh, where the ditch to the north of the wall was left unfinished. It is estimated that one of the single blocks removed from the ditch originally weighed 13 tons.

Pevensey Castle: 1939–45

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

During the Second World War gun emplacements and pill boxes were inserted into the Roman and medieval remains at Pevensey Castle in Sussex (see here). A gun emplacement was constructed on the north side of the perimeter where parts of the Roman wall had collapsed.

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

These later additions to the defences were marked by the attachment of Ministry signs.

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

Pevensey Castle: Roman signs

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The west gate of the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey is marked (in the path) with a Ministry sign. The gate itself is flanked by massive bastions. The Roman walls in effect became an outer bailey for the medieval castle.

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Pevensey Castle, Roman west gate © David Gill

Pevensey Castle: guidebooks

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1952 (repr. 1956)

Sir Charles Peers prepared the post-war guidebook to Pevensey Castle in 1952. The monument incorporates part of the Roman Saxon Shore fort. The guidebook contains a history followed by a description. A foldout plan is placed inside the back cover. A number of black and white photographs are included.

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1952 (rev. with additions 1963)

Peers’ guide continued to be published through the 1960s. The pictures were placed as a block rather than slotted through the text.

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1970

A souvenir guide was prepared by Derek F. Renn in 1970. He had previously prepared a similar souvenir guide for three shell keeps in the west country. Renn later wrote the official guidebooks to a number of sites in England and Wales.

Pevensey_EH
1999 (rev. 2011)

The English Heritage guidebook is prepared by John Goodall. This starts with a tour and description, and then a section on the history. There is a special section on the Second World War defences. A colour plan is provided inside the back cover.

Jupiter Dolichenus at Vindolanda

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Vindolanda, temple of Jupiter Dolichenus © David Gill

The sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus lies just inside the northern ramparts of the fort at Vindolanda. It was excavated in 2009.

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Vindolanda, altar of Jupiter Dolichenus © David Gill

One of the finds was a stone inscribed altar (now displayed in the museum). It bears a relief of Jupiter standing on the back of a bull. The inscription is dedicated to Jupiter Dol<o>chenus by Sulpicius Pudens, prefect of the Fourth Cohort Gallorum.

Sulpicius Pudens also appears on a second altar dedicated to Jupiter (but not Jupiter Dolichenus) that was found at Staward Pele in 1885 (RIB 1688). The earliest dedication to Jupiter was probably made by the prefect Quintus Petronius Urbicus dating to 213-235 (RIB 1686). Another prefect also made a dedication to Jupiter (RIB 1687). A fourth inscription, dedicated Naevius Hilarus, probably came from Vindolanda (RIB 2062). Some of these may have been dedicated in the praetorium building.

The Fourth Cohort Gallorum was stationed at Vindolanda from c. 213 to 367. The unit is identified in an inscription of c. 213 (RIB 1705). The unit is recorded in a building inscription of 223 (RIB 1706); it probably relates to the rebuilding of the south gate of the fort. The cohort is recorded on an inscription that dates to the reign of Probus, 276–282 (RIB 1710). Another prefect, Pituanius Secundus, erected an altar to the genius of the praetorium at Vindolanda (RIB 1685).

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Altar dedication by Quintus Petronius Urbicus from Vindolanda, Chesters Museum © David Gill

Caerwent: Guidebooks

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Caerwent © David Gill

The Roman town of Venta Silurum at Caerwent, Wales, has impressive walls as well as the excavated remains of some the public buildings.

The original Ministry guidebook was prepared by Oswin E. Craster. It follows the standard format of History and Description, with a foldout plan inside the back cover. The later editions contained a reconstruction of the town by Alan Sorrell.

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(1951) [1970]
This was replaced by a Cadw guide by Richard J. Brewer. This contained a history followed by a tour guide. There is a foldout plan inside the back card cover. There are numerous colour illustrations including finds from the site.

 

Caerwent
1993

A second edition of the guide, in larger format, was published in 1997.

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1993 (2nd ed. 1997)

A third edition in a yet larger format appeared in 2006. This contains details of recent excavations at the site.

The new guide also included a section on the nearby Llanmelin Wood Hillfort.

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1993 (2nd ed. 1996; 3rd ed. 2006)

Ministry signs on St Mary’s

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Porth Hellick Down © Patrick Taylor

The ancient monuments on St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly received Ministry signs. The chambered tomb on Porth Hellick Down is described as ‘the best preserved tomb of all those in the islands’, echoing O’Neil’s guidebook, ‘perhaps the best preserved of all those in the islands’. Again, ‘a few potsherds have been found in the chamber’, follows, ‘a few potsherds have been found in this tomb’.

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Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

At Innisidgen the sign starts with the same description as Porth Hellick. The description in the guidebook, ‘Nothing is known to have been found in the chamber’, follows the sign, ‘the chamber has long since been rifled of its contents’.

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Lower Innisidgen © Patrick Taylor

The sign at Lower Innisidgen echoes the others.

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Bants Carn © Patrick Taylor

The sign notes, ‘Cremated bones and pieces of pottery were found in the chamber many years ago’, whereas the guidebook states, ‘Four piles of cremated bones were found at the inner end of the chamber many years ago, as well as some pieces of pottery in the passage just outside the entrance to the chamber’.

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Bants Carn Ancient Village © Patrick Taylor

Near to Bants Carn Burial Chamber is a village. The sign and guidebook place it to the 2nd–3rd centuries AD, describing it as ‘Roman period’ or even ‘Romano-British’. The sign and guidebook talks of ’round or oval huts … built of large, well-laid granite blocks’. The guidebook continues ‘Paths and garden plots or small fields may also be detected’.

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Harry’s Walls © Patrick Taylor

A later monument is the artillery fort known as Harry’s Walls.

We are grateful to Patrick Taylor for digitising the images.