Interesting Archaeological Discoveries Along Hadrian’s Wall

February 3, 2018 by
Alex hiking in Connemara
POSTED BY February 3, 2018

Hadrian’s Wall, built in 122-128AD, has provided us with a time capsule enabling us to take a look back in time to when the ancient Romans ruled. It is a trail steeped in history, with many archaeological findings providing interesting insights into what life was like along the wall.

Would you like to travel back in time along Hadrian’s Wall?

Take a look at our hiking tours along The Wall!

Hadrian’s Wall was the Roman Empire’s most northernly barrier in Britain, providing protection to the Empire from the ‘barbarians’ in the north. From forts and towers to shoes and combs, the archaeological findings have provided both a broad overview and minute details about individual people living along the wall.

Take a look below at some of the interesting locations and archaeological findings along Hadrian’s Wall.

Winshield Crags on Hadrian's Wall


Vindolanda is one of the most important forts along Hadrian’s Wall and has provided us with the most information about what life was like.

The soil at Vindolanda was found to be incredibly anaerobic, meaning it provided almost perfect conditions for preservation. It has some of the most well-preserved artefacts found anywhere along Hadrian’s Wall. For example, we now know what tools the inhabitants along the wall used, what they ate out of and how they cut their leather. Many stone masonry tools were found to be almost identical to the ones that are still used today.

Thousands of leather artefacts have been found, such as Roman marching boots. Intricate designs and iron studs on the sole give an insight into the style and the functionality of the shoes.

Wooden combs show us that the Romans took their hygiene seriously as they would be used for both grooming and getting rid of lice.

Vindolanda Roman Fort along Hadrian's Wall

The Vindolanda Writing Tablets

The Vindolanda Writing Tablets are small, postcard-sized pieces of wood with inscriptions and writing on them. Thousands have been found and sent to experts for deciphering. They show us individual stories of actual people who lived along the wall.

The Vindolanda Writing Tablets have been one of the most important discoveries at the fort to show us what life was like almost 2,000 years ago.

The Vindolanda Writing Tablets found along Hadrian's Wall

The Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle

The Museum of Antiquities in Newcastle has many of the discovered artefacts on display. It provides information about the different cultures along the wall, demonstrating that it wasn’t just Romans who built and lived on the wall.

Cohorts from all over the Roman Empire were enlisted and drafted in to the north of Britain. We know this through the discoveries of red clay dishes from Africa, pots from France, saucepans from Italy, statues from India and blue glass bottles from either Germany or Egypt.

A stone slab inscribed by Marcus the 38th confirms that it was indeed Hadrian who ordered the wall to be built. Before this, there were arguments among scholars as to whether it was Septimius or Hadrian who ordered its construction.

Fallowfield Quarry

Fallowfield Quarry is where hundreds of Roman stonemasons worked on carving out bricks to be used in the construction of Hadrian’s Wall.

Rocks were found with Roman chisel marks in them, and other markings and tools showing how incredibly heavy rocks were lifted and shaped. Many of these tools are incredibly similar to the tools still used by stonemasons today.

The Construction of the Wall

Excavations have shown that the Romans changed the design of the wall partway through construction.

At  Brunton Turret, not far from Chester’s Fort, 10-foot wide foundations were found while the wall itself was less than half of that width. From here, the wall continues at its narrow width, showing that perhaps the Romans wanted to complete the wall at a more rapid pace.

Would you like to travel back in time along Hadrian’s Wall?

Take a look at our hiking tours along The Wall!