Hadrian's Wall Roman fort 'gifted to the nation'

image copyrightJustin Minns
image captionThe fort's surviving structures, including the remains of walls, lie under a turf cover

A Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall has been donated to the nation by its owner.

Carrawburgh Roman Fort in Northumberland has been cared for by Jennifer Du Cane's family since 1950.

Its remains lie under a turf cover and it has undergone little archaeological investigation in comparison to many of the 15 other frontline forts along the wall's 73 mile (117.5 km) length.

The site, between Chesters and Housesteads, will now be looked after by English Heritage.

The fort would have housed a garrison of 500 soldiers - first from South West France, later from Southern Belgium - responsible for defending the frontier of the Roman Empire from the tribes to the north.

image copyrightDave MacLeod
image captionThe outline of Carrawburgh Roman Fort can be made out from the air

Jennifer Du Cane said: "It has been a great privilege, but also a serious responsibility, to own Carrawburgh Roman Fort.

"The time has come to pass on this amazing site as a gift to the nation."

Legal ownership has now transferred to Historic England, the Government's heritage advisor, and it will be cared for by English Heritage as part of the National Heritage Collection.

It took about 15,000 men six years to build the wall, with work beginning in AD 122.

image copyrightEnglish Heritage
image captionThe nearby temple of Mithras would have been built by soldiers based at Carrawburgh

Duncan Wilson, from Historic England, said: "We are enormously grateful for this generous gift.

"The fort represents a key part of the Roman frontier and is of outstanding archaeological significance.

"It has the potential to contribute significantly to our knowledge of the Roman Empire and to visitor enjoyment of the Wall."

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