Magna Roman Fort

Lying beneath the ground behind the Roman Army Museum is the Roman Fort of Magna, the fort on the rock.

Magna was a Stanegate Fort and pre-dates the building of Hadrian’s Wall in AD122.  The site guards the road junction between two major Roman roads, the Maiden Way and the Stanegate. The town outside the fort must have done great trade in accommodation and meals of travellers from both well populated routes. This settlement was likely to have been larger than we would usually find at a normal fort due to this large amount of traffic.

Magna Roman Fort, waiting to reveal its secrets

Today the site of the fort, and its civilian settlement, is now little more than a series of fields with pronounced humps and bumps, the remains of the rampart behind the fort walls together with an exposed angle turret. The final fort at the site was subjected to a huge amount of archaeological harm, damage from farmers trying to improve the land and road builders looking for stone for the military way. Some of the artefacts found during this time were rescued by antiquarians and therefore survive to this day others are lost to us forever. Now under the care of the Vindolanda Trust it is being preserved for future excavation and research that will reveal the sequence of earlier forts preserved in the same anaerobic conditions as at nearby Vindolanda.

These special conditions are under threat due to climate change, if you would like to find out more about what’s changing and how we can monitor the effects on the archaeology you can read below.

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