I’ve just finished a series of MOCs about the life of a Milecastle on Hadrian’s Wall and thought I’d share it with you.
For those who don’t know, Hadrian's Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain built between AD 122 and AD 126, during the rule of the eponymous Emperor. It stretched some 120km between the Solway Firth in the west to the Tyne Estuary east. Along it were placed Milecastles, located at regular intervals of one Roman Mile (approx. 1.5km). Barracks and facilities for cooking and storage were provided at each, with the garrisons varying in number, up to a maximum of 64 troops.
The wall was built by the three legions stationed in Britain at the time – the II Augusta, the VI Victrix and the XX Valeria Victrix. Work commenced with the construction of the wall’s Milecastles and turrets (two between each Milecastle). The wall itself was then built between the Milecastles and turrets joining them together. The wall was also enclosed by a V-shaped ditch to the north and another ditch and attendant earthworks to the south; the latter feature being known as the Vallum.
Though Hadrian’s Wall was built by the legions, it was manned by auxiliaries. These included cavalry and all types of light infantry. Auxillia were originally formed from frontier populations to fight in their homelands using their local knowledge. However, following events such as the Revolt of the Batavi in AD 69, they were relocated to other parts of the Empire. Consequently, Hadrian’s Wall found itself garrisoned by Batavian and Tungrian Cohorts amongst others.
The final scene depicts the events of AD 180 when Caledonian tribes crossed Hadrian’s Wall, overwhelming its garrisons and killing their commanding officer or governor (possibly Caerellius Oriscus). The tribes proceeded to enter the Province of Britannia in what Cassius Dio described as the most serious war of the Emperor Commodus’ reign. In response Commodus dispatched the province’s former governor Ulpius Marcellus to repel the invaders. According to Dio, control was not fully regained until AD184, though archaeological evidence suggests trouble continued until at least 186/7.
Marcellus conducted his own invasion into Caledonia and is thought to have reoccupied the Antonine Wall, which runs between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde, for a short period. He was ultimately forced back to Hadrian’s Wall however, hampered by the mutinous British Legions, who would later put forward their own usurper to the imperial throne.
The wall would remain occupied by Roman troops until their withdrawal from Britain in around AD 410. In time the wall fell into ruin and over the centuries the stone was reused in other local buildings.
In 1987 the remains of the wall were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in 2005 it became part of the transnational "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" World Heritage Site, which also includes sites in Germany.
Many thanks for viewing; constructive criticism welcome
Edit: a full set of photos can now be found on Mocpages and Flickr.
Edited by Macsen Wledig, 21 May 2014 - 07:30 PM.