Turf structures in the Roman North and beyond

Ben Russell, Christopher Beckett, Tanja Romankiewicz, J. Riley Snyder, Benedicta Yi Xin Lin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Turf is not a material usually discussed in studies on Roman architecture. However, it was widely used as a building material by the Roman army across the northern provinces and especially in Britain. It was a versatile material used for the construction of marching camps (as Vegetius tells us) but also for more durable and long-lasting structures, notably the turf and earth portions of Hadrian’s Wall, in northern England, and the later Antonine Wall, in central Scotland. In these regions, however, turf also seems to have had a long history in domestic architecture, as it does across much of northern Europe. Used correctly, turf is a cheap, versatile and fairly durable material, especially in northern climates and regions lacking wood resources. In this paper we will examine the ways in which turf can be used in building, how to identify it archaeologically, and then consider what new methodologies can add to our understanding of this material.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTerra, legno e materiali deperibili nell'architettura antica. Atti del Convegno internazionale di Studi (Padova, 3-5 giugno 2021)
EditorsCaterina Previato, Jacopo Bonetto
Place of PublicationPadua
PublisherEdizioni Quasar
ISBN (Print)9788854914001
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameCostruire nel mondo antico
PublisherEdizioni Quasar

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • turf
  • military architecture
  • north-western provinces
  • micromorphology
  • geoarchaeology


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