Stanegate

MBetz
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MBetz
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Joined: 11:10 AM - Nov 02, 2006

7:13 PM - Dec 24, 2006 #1

I wonder about the name of the road which predates the building of Hadrian's Wall and the future Military Way. Stanegate seems to be from Old English and defines as the stone opening, or even stone gate. My reading about the Stanegate frontier (or not frontier) often makes mention of the roadway and alludes to it being a Roman road. Does this mean a classic road paved in stone? I think the settlers after the Roman period may have called the road the "Stanegate" because of the milestone markers along the road and not because it was paved in stone. I was rereading "Band of Brothers" and reminded of the letter that says the road is in a terrible condition. What if the road is the Stanegate and was generally a dirt track with numerous milestone markers? Wouldn't this change how research plans must be developed to find the Stanegate? Is there any research published on archaeology of the Stanegate, the road, and not the frontier? Any further incite would be helpful.
Matt
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

10:21 PM - Dec 24, 2006 #2

Hey Matt. "Gate" is one of those weird ones. Can mean both the modern gate, or street/way/thoroughfare. Then throw in the wacky Northumbrian dialect... ;)

I think the Stanegate would have to have been a proper stone-laid street. I mean, it was at the edge of hostile lands, and it was -the- link between all those forts. I'm sure they needed a road that could handle fast & efficient troop traffic.

If that tablet was written in ~100 AD, the road was, what, 20-30 years old. And the Romans were building it to Mediterranean specs, with little experience of Northumbrian winters! Must have deteriorated something fierce in all that time! Kind of like Maine roads still do today. :lol:

- Harry
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Mr Twicey
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Joined: 10:56 AM - Dec 08, 2006

3:36 PM - Dec 27, 2006 #3

Harry,

Your continuing abuse of all kind Northumbriam hosts has been noted for future use in a Twice Brewed Quiz.

Obviously the hadicap of being an American at such events is not enough and such matters must now be taken more seriously.

Happy New Year

Mr Twicey
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

4:48 AM - Dec 28, 2006 #4

Hi David. Sorry, could you repeat that? I didn't quite catch you.

:D

Happy Saturnalia!

- A refined American cousin
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Mr Twicey
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11:53 AM - Dec 29, 2006 #5

Moronic stupidity and the inability to read is no excuse either - Harry
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SacoHarry
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10:33 PM - Dec 29, 2006 #6

And they say Northerners aren't a warm & welcoming lot! B)

- H

PS: Oh Matt, forgot to mention, the old "Guide to the Roman Wall" by Bruce et al has lots of tidbits on Stanegate digs. Again the research is now quite dated, and may have to be taken with a grain of salt. But at least it's a start. Don't know how old the most recent edition is. I've got an edition from 1963.
Last edited by SacoHarry on 10:34 PM - Dec 29, 2006, edited 1 time in total.
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Andy
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Andy
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12:52 PM - Jan 01, 2007 #7

Hi Guys,

There are some excavated stretches of the stanegate that you can go and walk on, the best known is the high street running through ancient Corbidge. The road is most likely to have been mettled for most of the way, rather than flagged, although flagging may have been used to posh up some sections that travelled through settlements like Corbridge and the linear development of the extramural settlement at Carvoran, Carlisle etc.

However, as part of the 2008-2013 excavation plans at Vindolanda, we hope to put a trench across where we think the road runs (through the north field) to locate the road and see just what it was made of as it runs past Vindolanda. I take it we can sign you three gents up for that trench? A real modern road gang, I'll get the uniforms ready for the three of you.

best,


Andrew
Last edited by Andy on 12:53 PM - Jan 01, 2007, edited 1 time in total.
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MBetz
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MBetz
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11:00 AM - Jan 03, 2007 #8

Sign me up. I think Harry and Mr. Twicey would do well as a pair. No sharp objects for either, though. Must have safety at the excavation. I guess that leaves wheel barrow duty for them then. Any thought given to why the early fort or forts at Vindolanda faced south if the Stanegate was north of the site? Maybe an earlier road from the south was more important or maybe an indigenous settlement was nearby. I read that Roman Military Doctrine was to always face their fortifications towards the military threat (sounds pretty straight forward) so is it reasonable to wonder if the threat may then have been greater to the south than north in the early development of Vindolanda?
Matt
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Andy
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Andy
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8:29 AM - Jan 08, 2007 #9

I am starting to wonder if military building at Vindolanda has less to do with doctorine than personal taste. For instance the Antonine commander of the fort build his HQB facing south, but he also filled it with murals and scultpure worhiping the sun god. Would not be much sense in facing the building north under those circumstances. However, I am quite happy to concede that both a threat and a possible centre of population may have been to the south as well. Alas, neither of these have yet to be determined beyond doubt. Most settlement in Northumberland during the iron age seems to have been hill top related. Probably due to the lackof drainage in the valleys, and the scrub oak, brambles and good hunting.
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SacoHarry
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Joined: 9:29 PM - Aug 22, 2006

1:09 AM - Jan 09, 2007 #10

Any idea which phase of the Antonine fort the murals are from? If it's the early part, the visual is intriguing: It's been 30-40 years since an emperor has visited Britain; the bulk of the army has been moved a hundred miles north, leaving Vindolanda & the Stanegate kind of a backwater. If I'm the commander, I might feel a little bit freer about designing for taste rather than for doctrine.

- H
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