Hadrian’s Wall: expert reveals ‘mystery’ behind ‘house of murder’
The mighty Roman Empire initiated its conquest of Britain almost 2,000 years ago, forever changing the face of the island’s history. Soldiers, diplomats, migrants, among others, brought a new way of life to Britain, with exotic foods, cultures, religions, music and countless other things that had never been seen before. This is not to say that the Romans were a peaceful group.
Their invasion of Britain was brutal; destroying the colonies of native Britons and crushing the Celts into virtual oblivion.
To occupy, the Romans used their pioneering construction techniques to capture and blockade swathes of land, creating channels through which the colonies would levy taxes on the natives who previously roamed the country freely.
One of the Empire’s most famous structures that has survived to this day is Hadrian’s Wall.
It’s huge; Stretching 73 miles from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea, all the way west to the Solway Firth near the Irish Sea.
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Hadrian’s Wal: Emperor Hadrian started the wall in 122 AD
Britain became the farthest northwestern border from imperial power, crossing all the way south to Egypt, even reaching parts of Syria and briefly Iran.
Launched by Emperor Hadrian in AD 122, the wall and its endless secrets were explored in History Hit, “Hadrian’s Wall: Building the Wall”.
Here, Frances McIntosh, creator of Wall’s English Heritage, explained the peculiarities of the structure and the often overlooked mysteries and secrets that have yet to be explained by modern historians.
In the 20th century, while archaeologists were working along the ruins on the south side of the fort, they came across a collection of unusual and “impressive” ruins.
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Hit story: France McIntosh revealed where two unidentified bodies were found
The buildings were located just outside the fort where Roman soldiers and generals would have frequented, as was a civilian encampment.
What they found in the unidentified building were two bodies, lying under the floor.
Ms. McIntosh explained, “So we are looking at some of the buildings outside the fort, the civilian colony outside the fort.
“These would have been prime locations because their encampment was just outside the gate, but we don’t know what all of these buildings would have been: some of them could have been stores, some other taverns.
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“One of these buildings, when they were searched in the 1950s and 1960s, they found two bodies buried under what was the floor.
“We know that we are a woman and that we are a man.
“The man had a dagger in his back or in his ribs.
“It’s called the murder house, you can imagine great stories about why this could have happened and what happened.
“Is this a bar brawl gone bad?” Who knows. “
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Given the site’s long history, both during the occupation of the Roman Empire and after, a number of bodies have been found at the site.
In 2010, the skeleton of an 1,800-year-old child was found nestled in a shallow pit in the corner of a barracks at the nearby Roman Fort of Vindolanda.
Burials in built-up areas were prohibited in Roman times, with bodies normally cremated or buried far from built-up areas, leading researchers to believe that the skeleton had been hidden.
From the position, it appeared that the victim could have had his hands tied.
Vindolanda: Not far away, in Vindolanda, a child’s body was found in 2010
It took two years of research and testing before analysts determined the child was not local, but rather Mediterranean.
The discovery implied that the body could have been a child slave or the son or daughter of a soldier serving on Hadrian’s Wall.
If that’s true, theory proves that soldiers and officials took their families with them to the Northumberland wilderness.
In 2012, Dr Trudi Buck, a biological anthropologist at Durham University, estimated the victim to be around 10 years old.
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