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HALTWHISTLE BURN FORTLET

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The site of a Roman fortlet with internal features, surviving as an earthwork. The Stanegate, the Roman road from Corbridge (Corio) to Carlisle (Luguvalium), had to negotiate the steep and narrow valley of the Haltwhistle Burn just to the S of Cawfields; from about AD 105 this crossing-point was guarded by a fortlet. Some of the internal features, excavated in 1908, including a barrack block and officers' quarters, are still visible as earthworks. Externally, the defences were strengthened by the provision of an outwork. The Roman road almost clips the SE corner of this outwork and turns W at each of the crests above the burn, which was crossed at a slight angle. To the N lay Burnhead Crag, along the crest of which Hadrian's Wall was built; the Crag was removed by quarrying in the 20th century. The Vallum here lay close to the Wall, at the foot of the dip slope on the S side of the Crag. Between the Vallum and the fortlet (NY 76 NW 15) three camps were constructed, one of which was later halved in size. The chronological relationship of the camps to the other features of Roman date in the immediate vicinity is unknown. The area around the fortlet has been disturbed by watercourse and by the tracks and tramways associated with the 19th-century ironstone mines 400 m to the E. The scarps on the E bank of the burn have also been extensively quarried away. The ditches are well-preserved and survive in excellent condition, their V-shape accentuated by the cutting of shallow modern drainage ditches. The NE angle has however become silted, the S sector is 2.1 m deep internally with an irregular outer glacis, 0.7 m maximum height. The N ditch, a re-use of an existing natural gully, deepens towards its W end, the internal glacis, irregular in plan, is 0.9 m high. Corresponding with the gates in the N and E are two entrance causeways each with vague traces of a metalled track crossing them.

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