New website, very old gate

Thanks to lovely Stuart, chief shepherd at 3Sheep,  for the revamp of the website. He’s now handed it back to me and I’ve been doing my best not to break it. If anything either doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense please be kind enough to tell me and I’ll see if I can mend it, or at least break it in a new and interesting way.

The gateway on the front page is, for those who care about these things, all that remains of the north gate of Milecastle 37 on Hadrian’s Wall. Here it is again, looking much smaller than it really is in an old photo I’d be ashamed to publish, except for one thing – the chap on the right.

Drawing Milecastle 37

His name, I discovered later, is Alan Whitworth. He was working for English Heritage. The object in his hand is a drawing-board and he was drawing the Wall.

Yes. That Wall. All of it. When we met him he had five miles left to go.

I’ve thought about this encounter many times when I’ve been struggling with archaeological drawing. It’s not a job I enjoy. It’s slow, painstaking, awkward, and surprisingly easy to get wrong. I can’t begin to imagine what personal and professional qualities would be required to record a wall seventy-three miles long. To be honest I had begun to wonder whether we’d misunderstood what he said – surely nobody would take that on? But no, we hadn’t, and here’s the evidence.

4 thoughts on “New website, very old gate

  1. Thank you for the wonderful reading you gave us in 2014, and for the warm, friendly presence on your blog as well.
    I hope you have a safe, festive holidays free of orgies, circuses and any form of bacchanal… unless that’s what you’re hoping for.

    1. Well I think it should be me who thanks people for reading, really – but you’re very kind. As for Christmas – I’m thinking of giving the orgies and circuses a rest for a few days. After all, the slaves deserve a break too.
      Happy holidays!

  2. Thanks for the Hadrian’s Wall book suggestions! I just ordered both. I’ve visited twice (once hurriedly, once for several days) and feel a deep connection with it somehow. This was probably fueled by Rosemary Sutcliff’s wonderful “Eagle of the Ninth” which I used with my class.

    1. You’re not alone, Roxanne! I like to think that somewhere, somehow, Rosemary Sutcliff might be aware of the gratitude of so many people whose lifelong interest in ancient history goes back to “The Eagle of the Ninth.”

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