HADRIAN'S WALL H ADRIAN'S Wall was gleaming white—according to the latest excavation carried out by J. G. Crow for the National Trust and the HBMC. Three hundred metres of the wall are currently under excavation and have revealed that certain sections of the wall were built with a very hard white lime mortar: in places it appears that the mortar was either applied very excessively to the outside wall, or there was an attempt actually to render the wall. If so the wall would have been gleaming white: it would have been hard for any marauding Pict on a dark night to claim that he did not realise it was there.
Wall, just west of Housesteads in the area owned by the National Trust, between Castle Nick and Highshield Crags, adjacent to Milecastle 39. However excessive scouring has been taking place due to the visitors: it is a very steep area where the wall goes up hill and down dale, and the visitors, scrambling up the slopes, have worn deep ruts as footpaths, and so a 300 metres length is being excavated and consolidated.
The excavation is taking place on one of the finest stretches of the 16
The aim of the restoration is to make the actual wall as knobbly as possible, in order to prevent visitors walking along it, so they have to walk beside it. In many places, however, little restoration is needed, for the hard white mortar that forms the core of the wall survives so strongly that it can be left exposed to the elements in order to form a hard, knobbly, walker-deterrent surface. At the same time they are exposing and totally excavating the lower courses of the front and rear of the wall down to its foundations.
The excavations have revealed several surprises. One concerns the foundations. This length of wall on the crags of the central sector, is supposed to be the narrow stone wall built with a broad foundation in the gaps in the Whin sill, but it appears that there is both a broad foundation and a narrow foundation and the wall was then built with an offset narrower than the narrow foundation. The most interesting length was in a gap which they call Sycamore Gap, be-