• Imagining History

Hadrian’s Wall seen through Aerial Photography

Hadrian’s Wall was both awesome in size and epic in scope. During its heyday it was one of the most impressive building achievements of the Roman Empire. However, when visited today, many sections can often look a little underwhelming. Thousands of beautifully crafted stone bricks were removed over the centuries to build other stuff, so the wall has been left a little on the small side. Fear not though! Aerial Photographs are an excellent way of being able to experience the wall at its most majestic.


The Wall wasn’t just a wall, there was also a large ditch in front of it, as well as forts, milecastles and towers positioned all along its length. Even if these buildings can no longer be seen today, even if they are buried under the ground, their existence effects the plants growing on top of them. The plants will grow taller, shorter or not at all. Because of this we can see the outline, or shadow, of these constructions from the air.


Check out these examples:


Walls beneath the surface have altered the crop growth. You can see the outline of a fort! © The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The defences of this camp can be seen from the air. © The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The line of the Vallum - a massive barrier, south of the wall - can be seen. © BBC
A Roman road can be seen running up to the fort. © BBC
The destinctive rectangle shape of a Roman camp can be seen. © BBC

Further Reading:


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