Hadrian's Wall - Milecastle 50 - High House

Hadrian's Wall Milecastle

Milecastle 50 (High House) was a – Milecastle on Hadrian’s Wall. One of the two mile forts to secure the temporary peat wall, which have been explored a little more thoroughly. The other was at MK 25. It stood west of the Birdoswald Fort and was excavated in 1934. The defensive walls were made of heaped peat, the northern gate tower was made of wood. It belonged to the long axis type (dimensions of the surrounding wall: 20.12 m ? 16.76 m), the stone foundations were 6.1 m wide. According to an inscription on an oak panel – it contained the names of the emperor Hadrian and his governor Aulus Platorius Nepos – the castle was built in the 2nd century. There are no visible remains. The support structure of the north gate consisted of five 23 cm wide posts. The south gate was slightly smaller and supported on six posts (three on each side). During the investigations, traces of the internal development could also be observed. On the east wall stood a 9.14 m ? 3.66 m large, rectangular wooden building. It was divided into two unequally large rooms, one with a fireplace. To the north of the building there was another fireplace, to the northeast were the remains of the staircase leading to the battlement. Next to the south gate was a ceramic pot that was partially buried in the ground and had a drain. Presumably it was used as a toilet. The northern moat could be crossed by a stone-paved dam. This was later widened. There were traces of a drainage channel made of wood under the dam, which had subsequently been lined with stones. The excavations of 1934 showed that the mile fort was demolished according to plan as part of the first phase of the expansion of the stone wall (west of MK 49).

The mile fort was located and completely excavated by Frank Simpson and Ian Richmond between 1933 and 1934. The construction details were documented. Ceramics from the 2nd century, the remains of a leather tent, fragments of a wooden writing board and a drinking cup were found. In 1971, English Heritage employees conducted a field inspection. The lack of visible remains was determined and the location of the fortifications confirmed. In 1990 the area was examined again as part of the Hadrian’s Wall project. Except for the dam path there were no visible remains.

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