Teacher's Guide for DIG TM Hadrian's WallMay 2005
Teacher Guide prepared by: Gloria W. Lannom, a frequent contributor to Cobblestone publications.
Read "Why a Wall?" on page 6
How does the author answer the title question? (a wall protects privacy and can keep out intruders, if necessary)"On Site at Arbeia," beginning on pages 10 and 11, describes an important historical site.
Now, think of a wall or fence around a school, for example. This barrier can keep people inside as well as outside the school yard or other special area. Can you think of how this idea would apply to Hadrian's Wall, too? (it kept captive people inside the wall from joining those attacking the Romans from outside the wall)
How does the author describe the local populations? (different tribes who spoke the same language and had similar culture but who did not have organized government or political treaties)
Why does the officer in the photograph wear a large plume on his helmet? (it identifies him as a commander authorized to issue orders to the soldiers) Why do you think his armor is made in sections? (the flexibility allows the wearer more mobility)
Who was the first Roman general to land troops in Britain? (Julius Caesar) What year did he arrive? (55 B.C.) How was peace kept for about 100 years? (through a system of alliances and treaties with the tribes) What changed in A.D. 43? (after Emperor Claudius established a permanent military force in Britain, local people fought the Roman invaders for many years)
Which Roman emperor decided to strengthen his empire by fortifying its borders and frontiers? (Hadrian who became emperor in A.D. 117) Hadrian ordered the wall constructed starting in A.D.122. How long did it take to build it? (six years) How long was the wall across Britain's northern frontier? (73 miles) Where was the eastern end? (Wallsend) Where was the western end? (Bowness-on-Solway) How high was it? (between 13 and 15 feet and at the battlements or ramparts with gaps for firing arrows the height reached 21 feet in some places) What was the wall made of? (local stone with a rubble core) Why do you think the Romans used stone to rebuild the western part that was first constructed of turf? (turf walls often did not last long while stone was a permanent material)
What is a milecastle? (a fortified gate set at every mile to check people passing through the wall. Each gate had two turrets in between that served as watch towers.)
In addition to the wall, how else did the Romans restrict movement across the northern border of Roman Britain? (they dug a large, deep ditch beyond the wall to the north plus a large ditch, called a vallum, inside the perimeter of the wall) How long did the wall serve its purpose? (more than 250 years)
Where is Arbeia located? (at South Shields on the south bank of the River Tyne on the eastern end of the wall) What important discoveries have been made in the course of excavating there? (a possible parade ground for a fort; stone rampart walls and gates; inscriptions proving that the Sixth Legion built it; cavalry barracks; the commander's residence; military equipment; personal belongings; two headquarters; and latrines)"A Man with a Purpose," page 16, describes the work of John Clayton (1792-1890).
Why do we care today about this Roman complex? (when historians look at the material remains of this Roman site, they can increase our knowledge of how the Roman occupiers of Britain lived and worked)
Who was he? (a wealthy lawyer who lived in Newcastle, England) What did he discover when he excavated the family estate at Chesters? (a fort with stables, barracks, granaries for supplies, workshops, a hospital, and an administrative center; and, beyond, a bridge and bathhouse) What is the Latin name of the fort? (Cilurnum, a name that appears on some maps of the Chesters area)"Crazy Mixed-Up Biographies"
Why were some parts of Hadrian's Wall demolished in the 18th and 19th centuries? (to use the stone for building roads, farm buildings, and small walls) What did Clayton do to try to save the wall? (he began buying endangered parts of the wall and forts and excavated several milecastles and turrets)
What important discovery was made at the Roman spring near Carrawburgh? (a well dedicated to the goddess Coventina) What was inside it? (coins, incense burners, altars, and other artifacts) What did Clayton deduce from the finds? (he thought they were put there to hide them from attackers) What do modern archeologists think? (the objects were tossed into the water as offerings to the goddess Coventina) Name one decision Clayton made that no modern archeologist would allow today. (he allowed one of his colleagues to melt coins from Coventina's well in order to cast a bronze eagle)
Match each name below with a correct biographical statement. You may have to look back through the issue to find the answers.
- Sixth Legion
- Graeme Stobbs
- John Clayton
- Julius Caesar
- Septimus Severus
Answers: 1/g, 2/i, 3/c, 4/h, 5/b, 6/a, 7/d, 8/f, 9/e, 10/j
- a goddess worshipped in Britain
- landed his troops in Britain in 55 B.C.
- ordered the building of a wall to protect Britain's northern border
- decided to establish a permanent military force in Britain
- was a fort complex near the modern city of Chesters
- later chose the fort at South Shields to be his campaign supply base
- built the military complex at Arbeia
- excavated at Cilurnum in the 19th century
- co-directs the research excavation at Arbeia and wrote three articles for this issue
- is the site of a military complex built at South Shields on the south bank of the River Tyne