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The 2014 Society Weekend

We are indepted to the new editor of the news letter Susan Porter for the following account of the weeked which appeared in the societies newsletter


On Friday 4th April, in the benevolent shadow of Durham Cathedral. the pilgrims of the Hadrianic Society gathered for the reunion weekend and Roman Army School four and a half days of Forts. Frontiers, Romans and copious amounts of tea served with a distinctly late Roman flavour this year.

The reunion weekend officially began with the AGM on Friday evening, the minutes of which will hopefully be published in a later newsletter. The outgoing chairman Gill Law was unable to attend due to her mother's illness. Richard Bridgland was elected chairman and Suysan Porter takes over as Newsletter editor, but fear not. Adam Parker is still in charge of our online presence. In other news it was decided to make next year’s meeting of the Roman Army School and weekend shorter by a day. this was achieved by cutting out the hours of free time assigned to the Monday of the R.A.S meeting and next year’s meeting is scheduled for March 27th-3lst. 

On to Saturday’s Wall Trip, and for those who recall last year’s frightful weather, the minor drizzle encountered this year was barely noticeable as we made our way around the far eastern end of The Wall. Starting with the reconstruction and fort at Wallsend. The reconstruction was impressive and many braved the damp steps to ascend the parapet. Others however were disappointed by the presence of a tarpaulin, obscuring what remained of The Wall itself. the best view of the fort could be obtained from the viewing platform high above the visitors centre, where a panoramic seating gallery looked out over the skyline and gave a birds-eye view of the fort below. 

From Wallsend we continued into Newcastle, visiting the tomb of the pioneer himself, Collingwood-Bruce in the Cathedral, before taking in various aspects of The Wall cunningly masquerading as street furniture within Newcastle itself. One house in particular was worth noticing as the outline of the Wall (to a perceived height and style) was rendered within the brickwork of the building.

The evening lecture was given by Sophie Vanhoutte. This covered the Continental side of the late coastal forts, with focus on the Dutch and Belgian coast. It seems that the opposing coastline has aspects that mirror the Saxon shore of Britain, however it seems less and less likely that this was a fort “system”. More likely is that this coastal “system” developed in an organic manner rather then being rigidly thought out and designed as an almost frontier system. Something to think about.

On Sunday the 6th, recruits for the Roman Army School joined those remaining from the weekend. Sunday consisted of five lectures very much rooted in the fourth and fifth centuries with a foray into the mysterious land that is Post- Roman Britain. We began, somewhat fittingly, with a lecture from our new chairman Richard Bridgland, on those enigmatic southern installations known as the Saxon Shore Forts. This lecture formed a neat riposte to the lecture on the European side of the Saxon shore given by Sophie Vanhoutte at the close of the reunion weekend. It seems that these understudied constructions have much left to teach us if only we would bother to look. The harder one looks, the more differing date ranges become apparent and the less these installations seem like the “system” they are often taken to be.



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