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Ancient Cultivations at Housesteads, Northumberland

Abstract

The Roman Fort of Borcovicium at Housesteads in Northumberland should need no introduction to anyone interested in archaeology. During the last year it has been brought into great prominence by being presented to the Nation by Mr John Maurice Clayton, and through its close proximity to the portion of Hadrian’s Wall recently threatened by quarrying operations.

The fort at Housesteads was one of the earliest to be examined by British antiquaries, but although it has received so much attention its environs have been almost entirely disregarded. On both sides of the Military Way leading out of the west gateway was an extensive civil settlement, and traces of buildings can be seen on the south side of the fort. The hillside sloping to the southward is covered with the remains of early cultivations. These have generally been accepted as of Romano-British age. There are, however, two distinct systems of early cultivation. To the southwest of the fort there is a series of terraces running along the hillside, but on the southeast of the fort there are lynchets running north and south at regular interva up and down the hillside. From the hill to the south of Housesteads it can be clearly seen that where there is terrace cultivation it has been superimposed on the earlier system of lynchets, and this is also shown in air photographs.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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