Wallsend. In the foreground is the North gate, originally excavated in 1929; in the background are the bows of a giant tanker, under construction on the River Tyne.
B ACK on Hadrian's wall work continued at both ends, at Wallsend on the east and Carlisle on the west. At Wallsend the story continues, but, as ever, a further season brings modifications to the previous year's results. Far from complete demolition at the end of the third century, followed by an empty fort, it is now clear that a collection of irregularly planned and spaced small timber buildings was erected over some of the earlier barracks, giving a totally new street plan and layout to the halfempty fort. The very purpose of these buildings, even, is not immediately clear, as they match neither regular barracks, nor the late "chalets" found at Homesteads,
Greatchesters and High Rochester. This in a Wall fort! Surprises never end.
This year the demolition of the nineteenth century houses has been completed, and the north gate, originally excavated in 1929, was revealed once again. Underlying the cobbling inside the fort, traces of the earlier barrack blocks can be seen peeping through, and parts of four can now be plotted in, with evidence for another two buildings a little further south. Even allowing for the later Roman buildings just described, Wallsend is providing some of the best evidence for a Hadrianic fort plan to be recovered from anywhere on the Wall and fortunately the new housing estate is being redesigned, so that the fort can be preserved as an open space and ultimately, one hopes, the barrack blocks will be re-excavated and laid out for display.
P ERHAPS the most compre- hensive excavation in the north, however, is that at Piercebridge, where Peter Scott continues his steady operations. Readers of CA 40 will remember how Peter Scott, a retired Lancashire businessman, found the remains of a Roman bridge deep down in a gravel quarry, where it has been taken into guardianship by the DOE. It has now been consolidated and is open to the public. Subsequently he went on to do some excavations on the site of the 2nd century civil settlement, but currently he is working on the 4th century Roman fort that underlies the modern village. Here sewers have been installed for the first time, which led to a busy winter.
Originally it had been planned to lay the sewers down the backs of the cottages, so during the winter of 1973 14 Peter Scott uncovered most of the barrack block originally located in 1964 by Richard Harper, thus persuading the
Roman face urn, excavated at Piercebridge.