Wall Quest sees MOD archaeologists soldier on

9th September 2013

Soldiers from regiments across the country are working alongside archaeologists from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and local volunteers from the Wall Quest community archaeology project to excavate and record the north side of Hadrian’s Wall near Albermarle barracks in Northumberland.

The archaeological team will investigate land to the north side of the Military Road (B6318). They hope to pin point the exact location of the Wall in this sector along with the Wall ditch and beyond.  Excavations on Tyneside have revealed a series of pits on the berm (between the Wall and ditch) that probably formed a defensive function.  Hopes are high that they continue as a feature further to the west.

The excavation is directly on the line of Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail giving walkers an opportunity to see an excavation in action.  To the project’s surprise in week two of the project unexpected lines of stones were revealed to the north of the Wall, the purpose of which is open to interpretation and will require further investigation. 

The excavation trenches will be filled in afterwards leaving the Trail as it was found – a green sward.  National Trail Officer David McGlade said: “seeing how close to the surface the surviving archaeology is only demonstrates the importance of the Trail’s underpinning conservation aim of maintaining an unbroken natural green sward path.  A green sward is considered to be the best way of protecting any buried archaeology which, as these pictures show, can lie only just below ground level.  Throughout the year Our Trail lengthsmen Alan Gledson and Richard Thomas proactively manage the path surface using a variety of techniques including the use of temporary light weight ground reinforcing sheets as shown here.

Operation Nightingale was established by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and The Rifles. The programme helps personnel injured on operations, including Afghanistan, return to their regiment or prepare for civilian life. Wall Quest is a community archaeology project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others to open up participation in archaeology to members of the public on Tyneside. 

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