Hadrian's Wall -Burdoswald Fort (BANNA) MC49 to MC 53 hare hill

Birdoswald to Hare Hill

Milecastles 49 to 53


From Milecastle 49 and the cavalry fort of BANNA (Birdoswald) with spectacular views down the valley of the River Irthing to the south, the Wall heads for the western plain and the Solway.


West of the Willowford Bridgehead the Wall deviates from the expected rules, and for its deviations there are still no persuasive arguments. Logic ends at the River Irthing bridgehead. *1

Having used the terrain to military advantage for the miles west from Pons Aelius and a stone wall. For the last 30 miles they planned a wall of turf with a wooden parapet. The common factor is clearly that along this sector the planners no longer thought in terms of a serious threat from the north. The wall as built was a military mess, it is inconcevable that it was set up to face the same dangers as the central and eastern sectors *1

We are now in modern Cumbria

Roman Mile = 1620 yards = 0.92Mile = 1.48km

Start point for this page

Segedunum to Pons Aelis
Pons Aelis to Condercum
Condercum to Heddon
Heddon to Harlow Hill
Harlow Hill to Portgate
Portgate to Chesters
Chesters to Brocolitia
Brocolitia to Vercovicivm
Vercovicivm to MC40
MC40 to Aesica
Aesica to Carvoran
Carvoran to Birdoswald
Birdoswald to Hare Hill
49 to53
Hare Hill to Newton
53 to58
Newton to Stanwix
58 to 66
Stanwix to Dykesfield
66 to 73
Dykesfield to Maia
73 to Maia


On the 1922 map above the Fort is shown as Amboglanna.

The Name of the Fort

The problem of the Roman name of Birdoswald has been frequently discussed as a result of an apparent contradiction between the archeological evidence and the Notitia Dignitatum. In the Notitia the fort garrisoned by cohors I Aelia Dacorum is recorded as Amboglanna. This Dacian cohort is well attested at Birdoswald on a large number of insciptions .................. and consequently Birdoswald was identified as Amboglanna by Horsley. This was subsequently corrected by Haverfield (1918), to Camboglanna, which is how the name appears on the Rudge Cup and the Amiens patera (Heurgon 1951)

In 1821, an altar (RIB 1905) dedicated to Silvanus by the Venatores Bannieses was found inside the fort. This suggested that Banna a name that appears on the Rudge Cup, the Amiens patera and also in the Notitia was Birdoswald. Breeze and Dobson (1987, 272) have pointed out that, without the confusion engendered by the Notitia entry, the altar would have been quite sufficient to establish the identification of Birdoswald with Banna.

the solution was found by Hassall (1976, 113) in his discussion of the British section of the Notitia, where it is proposed that there is a lacuna in an earlier version of the document and with restoration of the text Camboglanna should thus be located at Castlesteads on the Cambeck, where cohors II Tungrorum is attested epigraphically (RIB 1981-3). This argument is decribed by Rivet and Smith (1979, 262) as "not only acceptable, but, once demonstated, obvious", and the identification has achieved general acceptance. (eg. Mann 1989, 75) The topographical relevance to Birdoswald of the name Banna, with its meaning of a spur or a promontory is very clear. *2

This Page is still in development

Jan 2012

And due to other committments still no progress

December 2012


Site transferred to northofthetyne.co.uk

Jan 2014

Plans to continuebeyond Birdoswald

March/ April


The site of Milecastle No 50

Harrows Scar

<<<<<<<<<<<< The site of Milecastle 50

<<<<<<<<< Milecastle No.51
This Page is still in development

References for Page 13

*1 David Devine -The Northwest Frontier of Rome p129/130

*2 Tony Wilmott + - Excavations of a Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall and its successor settlements: 1987-92. English Heritage 1997 Archeological Report 14

*3 J C Bruce - The Handbook to the Roman Wall 8th edition 1927 Pg 49

Map:- Banna (Amboglanna) MacLaughlan 1857

Bust of Hadrian:- Muzeo, Nazionale, Naples


This first plan provided for a wall 10ft wide, 15ft 6 inches high and surmounted by a 6ft crenellation. to the north of this was a 20 ft berm, a standard fighting ditch 30ft by 13ft 6 inches, and a glacis composed of the spoil of the ditch, approximately 60ft in width.

At each Roman mile was a milecastle with a north gate opening through the Wall, surmounted by a defensive turret and a south gate. In the original plan there were two barracks and the milecastle maintained a turret on either hand for the patrol garrison.

South of the wall was the Vallum, a complex consisting of a 20 ft ditch with a wide bottom section and mounds composed of spoil to north and south. The wall was built to the design width only on the eastern slope. The Milecastles built before the change of plan had 10ft wings on either side. The curtain wall as finally built was substantially narrower and the join is indicated in the diagram.

This information and the diagram taken from Richard Devine The Northwest Frontier of the Roman Empire Chap2 pg 27