According to Monty Python’s view of the Romans, they didn’t do an awful lot for anyone – except, of course:
– Public Baths
– Safe to walk in the streets at night
– Keeping order
– Brought Peace
Whilst our School Trip Friday to Hadrian’s Wall and its surrounding forts didn’t let us confirm or disprove all of Monty Python’s suggestions listed above, we were able to consider some. So here are our final batch of photos from our trip to Hadrian’s Wall which we visited as part of my son’s programme of home education. And here is our view of What did the Romans ever do for us?
Sanitation and latrines
Housesteads Roman Fort latrines in 2012
The latrines in use by the Roman soldiers. Wooden boards with holes in them were placed over the gullies. In the centre were stone water-troughs and sponges for the soldiers to use to clean themselves. This looks to be very much a communal manly event!
The bath-house at Chesters Roman Fort
The Romans placed their bath-house well-away from the main fort because it had to have furnaces capable of producing the high temperatures required for the baths, saunas and hot rooms. Therefore the risk of fire was great and so the bath-house was built separate from the fort.
Chesters’ bath-house is on the river-bank alongside the River Tyne. Hadrian’s Wall continues to snake through the countryside on the other-side of the river. There was a Roman bridge across the river, but this was washed away during the Roman times and not rebuilt.
The waiting/relaxing area in the baths. Statues of various Roman gods and godesses were probably in each of the alcoves.
How many sandalled Roman soldiers walked on this step into the next room whilst relaxing and enjoying their baths? Although they were naked in the baths, it is very likely that they had wear sandals because of the heat and high temperatures pouring from the floors.
What else did the Romans do for us?
I could show you many more photos from our time at Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman Forts – including all the underfloor heating systems, the large stores built to hold all the grain in the fort, and the Roman town of Corbridge. However, so I don’t bore you, instead I’ll show you what else we learnt during our trip. Now, strictly speaking the Romans didn’t do this for us, but during our trip we had a maths lesson and so learnt the complex calculations needed for flying a kite. Easy-peasy, you may think, but flying a kite is very mathematical with factors such as wind speed, length of the kite’s tail, thickness of the material and weight of the kite. At the end of our kite-flying session, we wrote a report about our experiences.
Birdoswald Roman Fort – Hadrian’s Wall is the stone-work on the right side of the photo
Our second kite – this one was too small and too light. This was the highest we got it.
Once we got home, our learning about the Romans continued by making a Roman mosaic. We cheated and didn’t do it the good old-fashioned Roman way of individually cutting each piece but, instead, bought a kit from Vindolanda’s wonderful gift-shop.
Mosaic half finished. This is more difficult than it looks! The tiles were already pre-cut into small squares but then we had to trim them into shape. Not easy for a child with severe developmental coordination disorder! Because of the risk of him losing fingers, the task of cutting and shaping the tiles fell to me. This is still work-in-progress and will hopefully be completed over Christmas.
We also bought a (modern-day) Roman dice game ‘Quinquereme‘ – an ideal introduction into the complexities of calculating with Roman numerals.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our School Trip Friday to Hadrian’s Wall
and here is a photo of your guides,
taken when we were at Housesteads Roman Fort.
Venimus Vidimus Vicimus
All photos are © Essex Voices Past 2012 and
may not be reproduced without permission.
You may also be interested in
– School Trip Friday – Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
– School Trip Friday – Chapel of St Peter’s on the Wall, Bradwell
– School Trip Friday – Imperial War Museum Duxford
– School Trip Friday – Of Cabbages and Kings
– School Trip Friday – Hadrian’s Wall
– School Trip Friday – Messages from England’s Roman Past