Housesteads, Roman Vercovicium or Borcovicus, is the most complete example of a Roman fort to be seen in Britain. The five-acre fort occupied a commanding position on the exposed Whin Sill escarpment and, looking north, it is easy to imagine oneself on the limits of an empire which once stretched from Northumberland to the Arabian deserts. It was one of the twelve permanent forts built by the Emperor Hadrian in about AD 124 for the garrison of his complex new frontier now known as Hadrian's Wall.
The visible remains include four imposing gates with curtain walls and interval towers, and examples of all the main buildings found in an auxiliary fort: headquarters, commandant's house, barracks, granaries, hospital and latrines. Part of the civilian settlement can be seen outside the south gate, while in the valley to the east is the Knag Burn gate and a fine length of Hadrian's Wall.
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