London, August 16 (ANI): An archaeologist from Hexham, England, has challenged perceived wisdom with startling claims that Hadrian's Wall was originally built of wood.
Hadrian's Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Roman Empire across the width of what is now northern England.
According to a report by Hexham Courant News, archaeologist Geoff Carter believes the Romans built a temporary timber wall stretching 117 kms coast to coast prior to the construction of Hadrian's Wall.
In a 65,000 word thesis published on his website, Geoff Carter says his hypothesis answers some age-old questions.
Archaeologists have long wondered why the ditch that runs parallel is several feet away from the Wall itself, reducing its effectiveness as a deterrent to invaders.
They also question why the ditch curves inwards towards each of the milecastles.
The answer, according to Carter, is that the ditch was originally dug at the foot of a timber wall that was put up as a temporary measure.
The temporary wall ran between each of the milecastles, providing a swift means of defence against marauding Scots while auxiliaries built the permanent stone wall behind.
Carter has become a specialist over the years in structural archaeology and, in particular, postholes - quite literally, the holes left in the ground by wooden posts.
"For some time now, archaeologists have known about three mysterious lines of postholes running in front of Hadrian's Wall," he said.
But in his thesis, he disagrees with current theory that they originally held nothing more than pointed sticks that provided another obstacle to attack.
"I demonstrate that these thousands of post holes, six posts every 4ft, are the foundation of massive timber ramparts 10ft wide, about 20ft tall, and quite probably stretching all 117kms from coast to coast," said Carter.
"The temporary timber wall joined the turrets together during the six years it took to build the stone wall behind it," he added.
"This explains why the ditch is so far from the Wall, and why it respects the postholes of the timber wall and curves in towards the turrets," he said.
According to Carter's estimations, over 2.5 million trees would have been used in the construction - making it one of the largest timber structures ever built - only to be dismantled when the adrian's Wall we know today was completed. (ANI)