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Legio17

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I don't know if this helps, but I used to work in the music industry. If there's anything that presents adverse opinion, it's a pub goer who doesn't like your band. Most of the time they dismiss you because it's a cool thing to do, makes them look big to their girlfriends, and doesn't inflict insults on huge numbers of fans that aren't there. The internet is similar in that respect - the anonymity is as good as an empty space and encourages dismisals. Whilst this negative attitude is hard to bear, anyone who isn't the flavour of the month is going to come across it - it is unfortunately normal human behaviour, so really all you can do is grin and bear it.  If you believe in what you do, that matters more.

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Vindo was the location in particular, around the tower mock up.

 

I don't 'mind' using turf, but there is a proper way to use it.

 

http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/vindolanda-fort-gatehouse-12796378.jpg

 

I have a few books now on Hadrian's Wall, and this image just.... It angers me. You can see the gaps beneath the wall, the images in my book makes it look even worst. I was in the infantry, my instinct when I see this is to wait till night, then belly crawl up and under it, and wreck havoc on the idiots inside and in the rear.

 

I get the issue of logistics and resources, but it doesn't mean you gotta be an idiot putting the wall together. If it was anything like this in real life, then I understand why the empire was lost. I mean.... You dig a defensive ditch to the rear too? You plaster it as well? It's the mist shameful wall in history.

 

What do I want? Hmmmm.... I want you to paint yourself blue, and burn the sucker down. Or at least fill in the undergaps. You got a shovel? Fix it, or put it out of it's misery. It can't go on like this anymore. It's just not right.

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5--ca8rX4ks/S9SIjIVJfOI/AAAAAAAAPe4/8VM9qYgdsoQ/s1600/Vindolanda-5.jpg

 

http://www.loweswatercam.co.uk/08021223.jpg

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I spoke to the guys at Lunt Roman Fort, who had a smilar issue with turf rampart 'sinkage'.

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Lunt_fort_baginton.JPG

 

Unlike Hadrian's turf wall, in a fort context, the wooden pallisades would clearly be needed, and Lunt seem to be sidestepping the sinkage problem using planking.  They deliberately didn't fix the problem, as an experiment to see how the ramparts would age.  Not sure what the value of that experiment is, given the contemporary presesnce of rabbits.  (Which they blamed as the main culprits, and weren't present in Roman times - allegedly)

 

If I were a betting man, I would say that there were no wooden installations of any kind on top of the turf walls.  That is a very controversial, but far from unique, theory. 

 

Unlike the stone wall, there is evidence of provision of access to the top of the turf wall.  I am happy to expand on that evidence, if requested.

 

I will ask Vindolanda next time I'm there (not this year, sadly), but I suspect the original build was an archaeological experiment, rather than an ongoing visitor reconstruction, and they weren't prepared to spend money on upkeep once it was complete.  It is totally falling down now.

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Umm.... If the wooden wall may 'not' of existed then a big chunk of my objection would fall away. Don't see much value in a turf wall, but if it was the base for a stone, then yeah.

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Oh... I need to add, at the site of Ft. Steuben (Steubenville, Ohio) they fundraised building much of the fort by letting people or organizations buy each individual beam, and got a little plaque hammered to each palisade with their name (or in memory of) in return.

 

It didn't build the whole fort, but a big chunk of it. After a while, it became a Hugh historic part, towith a museum added and people paying to enter, and the fort in real life was temporary and didn't do squat. I think such a method could work along your wall, IF they have funding issues.

 

Can you find the results of the turf Sinkage in relation to the wall? It would be nice to know the official tally.

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Just to expand on my postulation.  The turf part of the turf wall was designed to be a barrier in its own right.  Any woodwork placed on top of that would have been for the purposes of protecting soldiers patrolling atop the wall (and not to add to the invulnerability of the rampart itself.)

 

There is negligible evidence of any wall-top patrolling taking place, and certainly it's difficult to find any value that such patrolling would add.

 

As I mentioned, the Lunt guys blamed rabbits for their turf rampart reduction.  Someone from Vidolanda once told me (before I spoke to Lunt) they'd lost half a metre in 25 years.  At the time, I assumed it was due to drying out, rotting of vegetation, spread, and general settling that must happen with turf ramparts.  However, from the photos posted by Onosander, it's apparent that rabbits are present at Vindolanda, and so they are surely to blame there.

 

To touch on the funding question at The Vindolanda Trust.  They will need funding for many years to come, and use the vast majority of funding for further archaeological excavation.  They've still got many decades of digging to do at Vindolanda itself, and even when they've finished that, they also own the largely untouched Hadrian's Wall/Stanegate fort of Magnis.  It's my impression that funding isn't a huge issue for them at the moment, but obviously the more they get, the faster they can dig.

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Yes, same here with funding. Plus, there are a billion other sites.

 

I think it would be wise that they make this info public on a forum like this, people aware of financial and organizational techniques around the planet can compare methods used for maintaining and furthering cost effective, and efficient archeology and liaison to the public (public more or less makes it happen here, dragging the archeologist out and funding it in part).

 

Wouldn't the romans have rabbits too? If it was just rabbits, and I'm guessing the turf wall was built upon by stone, wouldn't the stonework experience seeping and cracking due to rabbits?

 

 

Secondly, wooden walls, IF they existed, would need to be short enough to look over (or a stable step on the inside).... is it to stop a infantry ambush at a weak point, or to stop missiles such as slings, darts, or arrows?

 

If the latter, then I'm guessing some would of landed BEHIND the wall, as well as in front of it. That behind it may be UNDER the wall, or in the sediment in the ditch to the rear of the wall. It will be hard to date the rear elements, but not the forward elements in my opinion (the ones that fell short).

 

Also, given the archeological experiment in turf seepage, the solution to such repairs seem simple enough. Any evidence the Romans had to repair them too? Who was the Romans real enemy, the Barbarians or the Rabbits?

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I don't know if this helps, but I used to work in the music industry. If there's anything that presents adverse opinion, it's a pub goer who doesn't like your band. Most of the time they dismiss you because it's a cool thing to do, makes them look big to their girlfriends, and doesn't inflict insults on huge numbers of fans that aren't there. The internet is similar in that respect - the anonymity is as good as an empty space and encourages dismisals. Whilst this negative attitude is hard to bear, anyone who isn't the flavour of the month is going to come across it - it is unfortunately normal human behaviour, so really all you can do is grin and bear it.  If you believe in what you do, that matters more.

Thank you Caldrail.  Sound practical advice.  

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Umm.... If the wooden wall may 'not' of existed then a big chunk of my objection would fall away. Don't see much value in a turf wall, but if it was the base for a stone, then yeah.

Large sections of Hadrians Wall were first erected as turf. Packed in bulk, it forms a heavy barrrier. Not as sturdy as tone perhaps, but not to be underestiomated. Wooden walls do tend to fall apart - these are the sort of fortification s that require constant maintenance and for that matter are bio-replaceable. Neat. Now we call blame the Romans for global warming.

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Wooden walls present a logistical burden, that though not impossible, is impractical for a length that long.

 

Turf walls are unwise. It's too easy for enemy infantry to scale, period. I can kick footholds and stab my fingers into it in a rapid rush up. No point from a defensive perspective bothering with it, save as a finishing touch to a more important structure, NOT as your primary defense, prior to a more modern era with guns and calculating trajectory with lanes of fire. Romans didn't need to know that sorta stuff save maybe potentially with select siege equipment (but I haven't seen evidence for that).

 

 

However, as a weak argument for it, its widely available in a otherwise resourseless area, and I can see rushed engineers pulling their hair out with a artificial deadline looming, with no surrounding stone and wood in sufficient quantities, and just a whole bunch of infantry and grass at their disposal.

 

In the American Midwest, we used to make Sod houses. You can construct out of it as a material, just would never be a good choice for a military fortification.

 

Yet.... Here we are. Hadrian's wall, which has so much wrong with it, used turf. Thing that annoys me most though is the rear defensive ditch. Its just so very wrong, sole purpose seems to be to twist Roman Ankles at night, though admittedly the plaster issues for the front side still erks me.

 

Even you Caldrail noted a town near you was fortified against (presumably) Saxon seaborne raids.... its a joke, this wall. The population to the immediate north were Romanized allies, and they still apparently faced attacks south of it from Europe. Its not worth bothering with, and if the barbarians to the north capture and man it, its hardly a strategic loss, just a waste of manpower on their part, as its useless for them.

 

A string of forts and a better navy and calvary force. The Romans were in England long enough to breed the horses and build the ships. Scotland is too small a area to take seriously beyond a raid potential. Quickest way to break them, give each family a slave knowledgeable of agriculture and building, and watch how feeble and decadent, offer to buy their crops a few years in a row, and they instantly cease being barbarians. The US, Soviets, and China split the world's alliegance doing just that. Cheaper that a silly, expensive wall that's badly built and unable to contribute anything meaningful to the defense of the province.

Edited by Onasander

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Don't get too hung up on the rear ditch.  (NB It's technically known as 'The Vallum' for reasons I won't go into here).  It was not part of the original wall design, but added some years later.  it isn't a ditch in the classic sense, and is certainly not a mirror to the northern ditch (a traditional V shape with ankle breaker in the bottom).  In fact, in the central section, it runs almost a kilometer south of the curtain wall.

 

There has been plenty of speculation why it exists at all, but no answers.

 

It's an easy trap to fall into to think of the wall as serving the same purpose as a city- or fort wall, and then try to draw parallels based on the function they served.  Limes, and especially Hadrian's Wall, did not serve the same function.

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