In a nutshell

The Vallum was an earthwork built to restrict approach from the south.

Look out for

  • Vallum near Cawfields
  • Proximity to the Wall
  • The slighting of the Vallum

Mini gallery

The Vallum


To the north, the Wall was protected by a ditch but had anyone thought about the south? Well, at some point, someone did because a huge earthwork was dug behind the Wall.

The deep flat bottomed ditch, flanked by two earth mounds became known as the Vallum. Finding out exactly why it was built has proved puzzling because it turns out to be rather unique. Its sheer size and scale suggests it was very important, but in doing what? Did it act as a big ‘Keep Out’ sign? One thing is for certain: as the only causeways were at the forts, it definitely changed how the locals crossed the frontier.

We may never know whether the digging of the Vallum was triggered by some violent event on the frontier or was simply good Roman planning. However, it appears it had a short life because it may never have been fully repaired once the Romans returned from the Antonine frontier.

In pictures

A serious business

The Experts say