BannaBirdoswald

Gold earring
Gold earring
probably worn
by someone wealthy

A fort under constant threat of erosion as the grounds to the south encroach upon the fort at a reasonable rate. There is a series of farm buildings within the fort grounds at the north west corner which covers two gateways though one of the buildings, a barn, is now the museum and educational centre. Excavations were carried out here between 1896 and 1950 but the internal buildings have never been properly investigated. It has been suggested that these may offer more interesting study than those of Chesters or Housesteads. The purpose of this fort was to guard the Irthing Bridge at Willowford.

Originally this was the site of a Roman signalling station built within the settlement ramparts and the Turf Wall added in 122 AD. This did not last long and a section of the Turf Wall was demolished in order for a cavalry fort to be built. As cavalry forts have gates to the north, three in all, of the Wall, it meant that the Turf Wall now adjoined the fort just at the southern tips of the east and west gates. However, later changes meant that a decision was taken to change the fort to one of an infantry fort. This meant the Turf Wall being removed and the Wall now being built in stone and adjoining the fort at the north east and north west corners.

Little of the internal buildings is visible today although the noth west corner of the fort stands at some 12 courses (of stone) high. Two ovens in the north west tower are well preserved as is a good part of the west wall. The south wall and gate are well preserved too and the east wall is almost fully visible at approximately ten courses.

On the main road outside the fort you can see a good stretch of the Wall expand away from the adjoining north west corner of the fort and it stands at several courses high.

Garrisons known at on StreetMap Streetmap Logo link to OS map

EraGarrison
Hadriancohors I Tungrorum milliaria ?
Marcus_Aureliusno evidence
Piusno evidence
3rd_Centurycohors I Aelia Dacorum milliaria (205 - 8), † venatores Bannienses
Notitia_Dignitatumcohors I Aelia Dacorum †
1st_NoteThe evidence for the Hadrianic garrison is a tile stamp (Ephemeris Epigrahica IX 1279). For the venatores Bannienses, whose inscription is undated, but for whom a third century date is probable, see p. 276 Hadrian’s Wall, Dobson and Breeze, 4th Ed. 2000.
2nd_NoteThe question whether the cohors I Thracum civium Romanorum also mentioned on RIB 1909 was simply helping with the building rather than based on the fort cannot at present be answered.
3rd_NoteFor the problem regarding the Notitia entry see pp. 294ff Hadrian’s Wall, Dobson and Breeze, 4th Ed. 2000.