Transcript: The Horsemen of Hadrian's Wall | Mar 16, 2020

(music plays)

Logo: TVF International.

Aerial views show images of archaeological sites in Great Britain.

Alice says SCYTHING THROUGH THE
LANDSCAPE OF NORTHERN BRITAIN
IS HADRIAN'S WALL, OUR MOST
FAMOUS ROMAN MONUMENT.
IT WAS BUILT NEARLY 2,000 YEARS
AGO AS A DIVIDING LINE
SEPARATING ROMAN LANDS IN THE
SOUTH FROM THE BARBARIANS TO
THE NORTH.
AT THE HEART OF THE WALL'S
STORY IS A BAND OF FORGOTTEN
WARRIORS.
THEY ARE THE ROMAN CAVALRY.
FOR OVER A CENTURY, HISTORIANS
AND ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE BEEN
UNEARTHING CLUES ABOUT THE
ROMAN CAVALRY, HELPING TO BUILD
A PICTURE OF THEIR FORGOTTEN
WORLD.
AND NOW,
DIGGING FOR BRITAIN
IS
GOING TO JOIN THIS SEARCH AT
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIGS...

A man at a site says THEY'RE MARRYING WITH THE
PEOPLE WHO, GENERATIONS AGO,
THEY ACTUALLY CONQUERED.

Alice says --AT OVERLOOKED ROMAN SITES...

Another man says SO, THESE ARE SERIOUS
MILITARY BASES HOLDING HUNDREDS
OF PEOPLE.

Alice says --AND IN MUSEUMS AND
ARCHIVES.

A woman in the lab says WE'RE STARTING TO REALLY
BUILD UP THIS LOVELY PICTURE OF
WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE.

Alice is in her forties, with long straight red hair in a half ponytail and wears a black top, green-gray coat with red rims and a silver necklace.

Alice says THIS YEAR, AN
INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF
ARCHAEOLOGISTS, HISTORIANS, AND
REENACTORS HAVE COME TOGETHER
USING THE LATEST EVIDENCE TO
RESTORE THE CAVALRY TO THEIR
RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE STORY OF
THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
AS PART OF THIS COLLABORATION,
A TEAM OF MODERN RIDERS HAS
BEEN RECRUITED FOR A UNIQUE
HISTORICAL DISPLAY, WHICH WILL
CELEBRATE THE POWER AND
SPLENDOUR OF THE ROMAN CAVALRY.

A man at the display says THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST
CHALLENGING THINGS THAT I'VE
DONE.

Alice says THIS PROJECT, COMBINED WITH
NEW RESEARCH, WILL ALLOW US TO
EXAMINE HOW THOSE ELUSIVE
WARRIORS LIVED AND REVEAL THEIR
CRUCIAL ROLE IN CONQUERING AND
CONTROLLING ROMAN BRITAIN.
(CROWD SHOUTING)
EACH NEW PIECE OF INFORMATION
COMES TOGETHER TO HELP US TELL
THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF ROME'S
SECRET WEAPON: ITS CAVALRY.

The name of the show reads "Digging for Britain."

The name of the episode reads "The horsemen of Hadrian's Wall."

A cavalry walks across a field.

A caption reads "Professor Alice Roberts."

Alice says WHEN WE THINK OF THE ROMANS
IN BRITAIN, WE TEND TO FOCUS ON
THE FOOT SOLDIERS, THE
LEGIONARIES.
BUT IN FACT, THE ROMAN CAVALRY
WAS CENTRAL TO THEIR MILITARY
STRATEGY AND SUCCESS.
BUT THESE ELITE WARRIORS HAVE
VANISHED FROM THE PUBLIC
IMAGINATION.
EVEN IN THE ROMAN ERA, IT WAS
THE FOOT SOLDIERS, THE
LEGIONARIES, WHO HOGGED THE
LIMELIGHT.
BUT THE ROMAN CAVALRY WERE AT
THE HEART OF SOME OF ROME'S
GREATEST VICTORIES.
AND THEY WERE KEY TO RUNNING
AND DEFENDING THAT VAST EMPIRE.
THE CAVALRY WERE FAR FEWER IN
NUMBER THAN THE INFANTRY BUT
VITAL IN CONQUERING AND
CONTROLLING ROME'S SPRAWLING
EMPIRE.
BUT EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT
THEM HAS TO BE PIECED TOGETHER
FROM SMALL CLUES FOUND IN
ANCIENT LITERATURE OR
UNEARTHED AT ARCHAEOLOGICAL
DIGS.
IN 2017, 10 MUSEUMS ALONG
HADRIAN'S WALL BROUGHT, FOR THE
FIRST TIME, ALL OF THESE
FRAGMENTS OF EVIDENCE TOGETHER
TO CREATE A MAJOR EXHIBITION
CELEBRATING THE LEGACY OF
THESE ANCIENT WARRIOR HORSEMEN.
THE CLIMAX OF THIS PROJECT:
A LIVE CAVALRY RE-ENACTMENT
INVOLVING 30 MODERN RIDERS.
THEY'RE ATTEMPTING TO STAGE A
ROMAN CAVALRY TOURNAMENT,
A TEST OF SKILL AND BRAVERY
WHICH NO ONE HAS SEEN FOR OVER
1,600 YEARS.
THEY'RE DRAWING ON HISTORY,
ON PAINSTAKINGLY TRANSLATED
ANCIENT DOCUMENTS, AS WELL AS
THE LATEST ARCHAEOLOGICAL
REVELATIONS IN ORDER TO BRING
TO LIFE ONE OF THE MOST
DAZZLING SPECTACLES OF THE
ROMAN WORLD.
AND IT'S PROVIDING THE
ACADEMICS WITH A UNIQUE
OPPORTUNITY TO DISCOVER
SOMETHING NEW.
BY PUTTING THEIR THEORIES INTO
PRACTICE, THEY HOPE TO FIND OUT
HOW THE CAVALRY RODE, HOW
THEIR KIT WAS WORN AND
ACTUALLY WORKED, AND WHAT
BATTLE TACTICS THEY MIGHT HAVE
BROUGHT WITH THEM TO BRITAIN.

The caption changes to "Bill Griffiths. Tyne and Wear museums and archives."
Bill is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and wears glasses and a blue T-shirt with a print on the front.

He says THIS EXPERIMENT OF
ARCHAEOLOGY TAKES US OUT OF THE
REALM OF GUESSWORK AND MOVES US
INTO AN AREA WHERE WE CAN START
TO MAKE SOME REASONABLE
ESTIMATES AS TO WHAT'S POSSIBLE.
IT DOESN'T GIVE US THE ANSWER,
BUT IT'S EVERY BIT AS VALID AS
FIELDWORK.

Alice says AS THE TEAM PREPARES FOR THE
BIG SHOW, I'M GOING TO SEEK
OUT EVIDENCE THE CAVALRY LEFT
BEHIND TO HELP BUILD A PICTURE
OF THEIR ROLE IN ROMAN BRITAIN.
MY JOURNEY BEGINS IN
NORTHUMBERLAND ON HADRIAN'S
WALL ITSELF.

An animated map shows the extension of the wall.

Alice says WHEN THE EMPEROR HADRIAN CAME
TO POWER IN 117 AD, HE
LAUNCHED A VAST BUILDING
SCHEME TO CONSOLIDATE THE
SPRAWLING FRONTIERS OF THE
EMPIRE HE'D INHERITED.
HE BUILT A NEW LINE OF DEFENCES
SNAKING ACROSS 3,000 MILES OF
HIS FRONTIER, FROM NORTH
AFRICA TO THE BLACK SEA AND ON
THROUGH CENTRAL EUROPE TO
BRITAIN.
IN NORTHERN ENGLAND, HADRIAN'S
PROJECT WAS REALISED AS AN
IMPASSABLE WALL 15 FEET HIGH,
STRETCHING 75 MILES FROM COAST
TO COAST.
IT WAS DESIGNED TO KEEP OUT THE
WILD BRITISH TRIBES WHO LIVED
TO THE NORTH.

On a rainy day, Alice walks in a wooded area by the wall and says ON A DAY LIKE THIS, YOU CAN
IMAGINE BEING A ROMAN SOLDIER
AND BEING PRETTY DISGRUNTLED AT
HAVING BEEN STATIONED HERE ON
HADRIAN'S WALL ON THE VERY
NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF THIS
WONDERFUL EMPIRE, LOOKING OUT
AT THE LAND OF THE BARBARIANS
OVER THERE.
BUT I THINK WHAT'S REALLY
INTERESTING ME TODAY IS FINDING
OUT HOW OUR IDEAS OF THE WALL
HAVE EVOLVED OVER TIME.
AND THAT'S ALL ABOUT NEW
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES.
(BLEATING)
I WANT TO FIND OUT WHY
HADRIAN'S WALL BECAME THE
CENTRE OF OPERATIONS FOR THE
ROMAN CAVALRY.
TO GET SOME ANSWERS, I'M
MEETING ONE OF THE LEADING
EXPERTS ON HOW HADRIAN'S WALL
WORKED: MATT SYMONDS.
MATT HAS MINUTELY RESEARCHED
THE 80 SMALL FORTS DOTTED ALONG
THE WALL, WHICH WE NOW KNOW AS
MILECASTLES.
THIS IS A BUILDING ATTACHED TO
THE WALL, THEN, MATT.
WHAT IS IT?

Matt says IT IS.
IT'S A BUILDING KNOWN AS A
MILECASTLE, AND THIS PARTICULAR
ONE IS MILECASTLE 37.

Matt is in his thirties, with short straight brown hair and wears a black raincoat.

Alice says SO, IF THIS IS A MILECASTLE,
DOES THAT MEAN THERE WERE
ACTUALLY SMALL FORTS LIKE THIS
EVERY MILE ALONG HADRIAN'S WALL?

Matt says ESSENTIALLY, YES.
THERE IS A SMALL AMOUNT OF
LEEWAY ALLOWED, BUT IT IS AN
INCREDIBLY REGIMENTED AND
ORDERED SYSTEM.
AND IT IS A RADICAL DEPARTURE
FROM WHAT THE ROMAN ARMY WAS
DOING BEFORE.

Alice says THESE MILECASTLES SAW THE
ROMAN ARMY RIP UP ITS
TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO
DEFENCE, WHICH HAD BEEN BASED
ON TEMPORARY WOODEN FORTS.
HERE IN NORTHERN ENGLAND, THEY
BUILT A CONTINUOUS LINE OF
PERMANENT STONE FORTS, ALL
LINKED BY THIS DEFENSIVE
WALL.

Matt says THAT IS AN INCREDIBLY CLOSE
SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM.
AND IT MUST ALMOST CERTAINLY BE
ABOUT MAKING SURE YOU HAD
PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT POSITIONS
TO STOP THEM FROM SNEAKING OVER
THE WALL UNOBSERVED.

Alice says YEAH.

Matt says SO IF YOU LIKE, IT'S AN
EARLY WARNING SYSTEM.

Alice says YEAH.

Matt says THE NUMBER OF SOLDIERS BASED
IN A MILECASTLE WOULD HAVE BEEN
VERY, VERY SMALL INDEED, MAYBE
ONLY EIGHT IN THAT SMALL
BARRACK-BLOCK OVER THERE.
BUT IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THERE WAS
A MAJOR CHANGE OF PLAN DURING
THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS.

Alice says AS HADRIAN'S WALL WAS BEING
BUILT, THE PLAN EVOLVED.
AS WELL AS THOSE SMALL
MILECASTLES, THE ROMAN ARMY
ALSO BEGAN TO BUILD A SERIES OF
HUGE, HEAVILY-DEFENDED FORTS
INTO THE LINE OF THE WALL
ITSELF.

Matt says SO, THESE ARE SERIOUS
MILITARY BASES HOLDING HUNDREDS
OF PEOPLE, A FAR CRY FROM THE
EIGHT OR SO, THE HANDFUL OF
PEOPLE YOU'D FIND IN HERE.

An aerial view shows images of a fort by the wall.

Alice says PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS AND
DRAMATIC OF ALL OF THESE FORTS
IS HOUSESTEADS.
AND CRUCIALLY, THE ROMANS
FILLED FORTS LIKE THIS NOT JUST
WITH ORDINARY FOOT SOLDIERS BUT
WITH CAVALRYMEN.
PERHAPS THAT WAS A REACTION TO
THE FEROCITY OF THE NATIVE
BRITONS TO THE NORTH OR JUST A
BUREAUCRATIC DECISION FROM
ON HIGH.
WHATEVER THE REASON, FROM THIS
POINT ON, THESE FORTS AND THEIR
CAVALRY BECAME KEY TO DEFENDING
HADRIAN'S WALL.

Matt says WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE
FRONTIER, WE MUSTN'T JUST THINK
ABOUT THIS LINE.
IT'S A CRUCIAL PART OF IT, BUT
THERE'S A MUCH WIDER FRONTIER
ZONE.
AND BY HAVING CONCENTRATED
FORCES AND, IN PARTICULAR, BY
HAVING CAVALRY, YOU HAVE THAT
STRIKE FORCE TO THE NORTH AND
INDEED TO THE SOUTH, SHOULD YOU
NEED IT.
SO IT'S ABOUT REALLY ENHANCING
THAT CAPABILITY.

Alice says IT'S ABOUT CONTROLLING A
ZONE...

Matt says EXACTLY.

Alice says --RATHER THAN JUST COVERING
THIS LINE.

Matt says YEAH, THE ROMANS WANTED IT
ALL.
THEY'RE CONTROLLING A LINE, AND
THEY'RE CONTROLLING ZONES TO
EITHER SIDE.

Alice says JUST LOOKING AT THIS
LANDSCAPE, YOU CAN SEE WHY THE
ROMANS DECIDED TO MOVE THEIR
CAVALRY ONTO HADRIAN'S WALL.
FAST HORSEMEN COULD MOVE
QUICKLY TO CUT OFF THE FIRST
SIGNS OF TROUBLE FROM THE
NATIVE BRITONS.
NOT FAR FROM HERE IS ANOTHER OF
THESE HUGE FORTS BUILT INTO
HADRIAN'S WALL.
THIS ONE WAS BUILT AT A
STRATEGIC CROSSING OF THE RIVER
TYNE AT A PLACE NOW CALLED
CHESTERS.
IN ITS HEYDAY, IT WAS HOME TO
500 CAVALRYMEN AND THEIR
HORSES.
NEW DISCOVERIES HERE ARE
HELPING TO REVEAL WHY THE ROMAN
CAVALRY WAS SUCH AN EFFECTIVE
FIGHTING FORCE.
TO DISCOVER MORE, I'M MEETING
KEVIN BOOTH OF ENGLISH
HERITAGE.
ONE OF THE MOST RECOGNISABLE
PARTS OF THE FORT IS ITS LIVING
QUARTERS OR BARRACKS.
BARRACK-BLOCKS ARE SIMILAR
RIGHT ACROSS THE ROMAN EMPIRE,
BUT THERE WAS ALWAYS A MYSTERY
AT CAVALRY BASES.
THERE WAS PLENTY OF
ACCOMMODATION FOR THE SOLDIERS,
BUT WHERE WERE THE STABLES?
THE ANSWER EMERGED IN THE LATE
1990S WHEN ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN
NEWCASTLE MADE A REMARKABLE
DISCOVERY.
DURING EXCAVATIONS OF A SIMILAR
BARRACK-BLOCK, THEY FOUND A
SERIES OF SHALLOW PITS.
AND IT WAS REALISED THAT THESE
WERE RUDIMENTARY DRAINS FOR
HORSES' URINE.
SO THE MEN AND THE HORSES WERE,
IN FACT, LIVING IN THE SAME
BUILDINGS.

The caption changes to "Kevin Booth. Senior curator, English Heritage."

Kevin is in his forties with short straight gray hair and wears khaki trousers and a blue shirt.

Kevin says IN EACH OF THESE
SPACES, YOU'VE GOT THREE MEN AND
THREE HORSES, LIVING SIDE BY
SIDE.

Alice says SO THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN
THREE MEN AND THREE HORSES IN
JUST THIS SPACE?

Kevin says IT DOES SEEM QUITE
EXTRAORDINARY, AND WITH THE
RELATIVELY NARROW DOORWAY.
IN FACT, WE'RE STOOD PRETTY MUCH
ON THE LINE OF THE PARTITION
BETWEEN THE FRONT HALF WITH THE
HORSES AND THE MEN AT THE BACK.

Alice says IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PRETTY
DANK AND SMELLY IN HERE,
I IMAGINE.

Kevin says TO OUR SENSIBILITIES,
NO DOUBT.

Alice says YEAH.

Kevin says YEAH, BUT I DON'T KNOW.
I SUPPOSE YOU GET USED TO IT,
DON'T YOU?

Alice says IT SEEMS LIKE A PECULIAR
SET-UP.
I MEAN, WHY WOULDN'T THEY HAVE
STABLES ELSEWHERE?
WHY ARE THEY KIND OF FORCING THE
MEN AND THE HORSES IN TOGETHER?

Kevin says IT'S INTIMATE.

Alice says YEAH.

Kevin says AND PERHAPS THAT'S THE POINT.
YOU'RE MAINTAINING THAT STRONG
BOND BETWEEN THE MAN AND HIS
HORSE.
AND THAT IS ALSO TO DO WITH
FINANCE.
YOU KNOW, THE HORSE ESSENTIALLY
IS PAID FOR OUT OF THE ROMAN
SOLDIER'S WAGES.
HE HAS A FINANCIAL INVESTMENT
IN IT.
AND I THINK ALSO IF YOU'VE GOT A
FORT THAT HAS 500 HORSES IN IT,
HYGIENE AND GOOD MAINTENANCE
IS ALL.
AND THEN ALSO, IF YOU NEED TO
GET OUT OF THE NORTH GATE OF
THIS FORT AT SPEED, YOU'RE
READY; YOU'RE PREPARED.
YOU'RE AWAY.

Alice says SO YOU'RE ON CALL HERE IN
THE BARRACKS, READY TO JUMP ON
YOUR HORSE AND SET OFF AT ANY
TIME.

Kevin says ABSOLUTELY, PERMANENTLY.

Alice says THESE MEN MUST HAVE HAD A
UNIQUELY CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
WITH THEIR HORSES, WHICH IS
HARD FOR US TO UNDERSTAND.
THEY LIVED SIDE BY SIDE AND
FOUGHT TOGETHER.
TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE
ROMAN CAVALRY RODE AND FOUGHT
ON HORSEBACK, I'M MEETING THE
LEADER OF THE MODERN RIDING
TROOP, ALAN LARSEN.
WHO'S THIS?

Alan is in his forties, with short straight brown hair and wears black trousers, a red belted tunic and a brown scarf.

Alan shows her to the paddock.

Alan says THIS IS FINBAR.
AND FINBAR HAS THE DISTINCTION
IN THE TURMA SHOW OF BEING THE
MOUNT OF THE EMPEROR HADRIAN.

Alice says OH, REALLY?

Alan says AND HE'S GOT THE MOST
MAGNIFICENT SET OF RECREATED
SECOND-CENTURY SADDLERY ON,
ALICE.

Alice says HELLO, FINBAR.
AND AN AMAZING SADDLE.
I MEAN, THIS SADDLE LOOKS
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM MODERN
SADDLES.

Alan says ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT THE MOST
COMFORTABLE OF SADDLES, IT DOES
THE JOB BRILLIANTLY.

Alice says AND SO, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT
ROMAN SADDLES WOULD HAVE BEEN
LIKE?

Alan says WE OWE A GREAT DEBT TO A
WONDERFUL MAN CALLED DR. PETER
CONNELLY, WHO RECONSTRUCTED THE
ROMAN SADDLES FROM THE COVER,
THE OUTER LEATHER COVER, WHICH
WAS FOUND PRESERVED IN A BOG
DURING A DIG AT A ROMAN CAVALRY
CAMP.
HE HAD THE GENIUS MOMENT OF
REALISING THAT IF YOU PUT A
FRAME INSIDE IT, IT COULD
FUNCTION PERFECTLY WELL.

Alice says AND I'VE NOTICED THAT FINBAR
HASN'T GOT ANY STIRRUPS.

Alan says NO.

Alice says SO, IS THAT NORMAL FOR ROMAN
RIDING?

Alan says ROMAN CAVALRY SADDLES DO NOT
HAVE STIRRUPS.
THEY DIDN'T NEED THEM,
ESSENTIALLY.
THEY WERE SO WELL WEDGED INTO
THE SADDLE WITH THESE FOUR HORNS
THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO DO
EVERYTHING THAT A MODERN RIDER
CAN DO.

Alice says AND WHAT ABOUT THE HORSES
THEMSELVES, ALAN?
WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN LIKE?
WERE THEY VERY DIFFERENT TO
MODERN HORSES?

Alan says YEAH, ROMAN CAVALRY HORSES
WERE SMALL BY OUR STANDARDS.
FINBAR IS 15 HANDS, AND THAT'S
AS BIG AS ROMAN CAVALRY HORSES
GOT.

Alice says SO, WERE THEY CHOOSING TO
HAVE SMALL HORSES, OR WAS THAT
JUST ALL THAT WAS AVAILABLE?

Alan says NO, THAT WAS ALL THAT WAS
AVAILABLE.
THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE WHAT
WE'D CALL PONIES.
BUT THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THAT IS
THAT A SURE-FOOTED, STURDY
LITTLE PONY CAN CARRY YOU FOR
MILES AND MILES, DAYS AND DAYS,
UP AND DOWN HILLS IN COUNTRY
THAT A BIGGER, MORE FINELY BRED
HORSE WOULD BEGIN TO FALTER.

(music plays)

Alice says ON THESE SMALL, RUGGED
HORSES, A CAVALRYMAN COULD
TRAVEL 40 MILES IN A DAY.
SELECTING THE RIGHT HORSES IS
ALSO GOING TO BE CRUCIAL FOR
THE 30 MODERN RE-ENACTORS WHO
ARE TAKING ON THE HUGE
CHALLENGE OF STAGING A ROMAN
CAVALRY TOURNAMENT.
A MONTH BEFORE THE BIG SHOW,
TROOP LEADER ALAN LARSEN IS
BRINGING TOGETHER SIX KEY
RIDERS AND THEIR HORSES FOR A
VITAL FIRST TRAINING SESSION.
IN THE ROMAN AGE, CAVALRY
TOURNAMENTS WERE DESIGNED TO
SHOWCASE THE HORSEMAN'S SKILLS
IN A PUBLIC ARENA.
THESE SIX RIDERS ARE TAKING ON
THE ROLE OF THE ELITE WHO
STARRED IN THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE
TOURNAMENT, A COMPETITION OF
HORSEMANSHIP FOUGHT BETWEEN TWO
TEAMS.

The caption changes to "Alan Larsen. Re-enactment Troop Leader."

Alan says IT'S UNDOUBTEDLY ONE OF THE
MOST CHALLENGING OF EQUESTRIAN
AND RE-ENACTMENT DISCIPLINES.
AND A RELATIVELY FEW NUMBER OF
RIDERS HAVE THE SKILLS AND
DETERMINATION TO SEE IT THROUGH.

Alice says HISTORIANS HAVE PIECED
TOGETHER WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT
ROMAN CAVALRY TOURNAMENTS FROM
THE ANCIENT LITERATURE.
BUT THIS PROJECT WILL ALLOW
THEM TO EXAMINE THE CAVALRY'S
EQUIPMENT IN ACTION, AS WELL AS
TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE
TACTICS AND MANOEUVRES THEY'VE
ONLY EVER READ ABOUT.
AT TODAY'S SESSION, THE TEAM
NEEDS TO PRACTISE THREE OF
THESE MANOEUVRES, WHICH THEY'LL
EVENTUALLY BE PERFORMING AT THE
SHOW.
BEFORE THEY BEGIN, NIGEL, THE
LEAD RIDER, CALLS THE TEAM
TOGETHER FOR A BRIEFING TO
DISCUSS THE FIRST TASK, THE
SO-CALLED CANTABRIAN WHEEL.

Nigel is in his late thirties, with short brown hair and wears khaki trousers and a black sweater.

Nigel says OKAY, EVERYBODY.
EVERYBODY HAPPY WITH THEIR
HORSES?
RIGHT, WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO
FIRST WHILE WE'RE IN MODERN
CLOTHING AND MODERN TACK IS
START PUTTING TOGETHER THE
BASIS OF THAT CANTABRIAN WHEEL.
OKAY, SO, IN THAT, MAGYAR AND
SHADOW WILL BE THE TARGET
HORSES.
AND YOU FOUR WILL BE RIDING
AROUND, PELTING OUR SHIELDS WITH
YOUR JAVELINS.

Alice says THE CANTABRIAN WHEEL WAS A
CLASSIC ROMAN BATTLE TACTIC,
WHICH WAS PRACTISED AS PART OF
THE CAVALRY TOURNAMENT.
ON THE BATTLEFIELD, IT WAS
DESIGNED TO HARASS ENEMY
FORCES.
BUT IN THE TOURNAMENT, THE
CAVALRYMEN SCORED POINTS BY
HITTING THEIR OPPONENTS WITH
BLUNTED JAVELINS.

Nigel says GOOD HIT.
BAD SHOT.

Alan says WE'RE PUTTING THE
HORSES AND THE RIDERS THROUGH
THEIR PACES.
THEY'RE CONCENTRATING ON THE
BUSINESS OF HURLING JAVELINS AT
EACH OTHER IN A COMPETITION,
WHICH WILL BE AS MUCH OF A
SPECTACLE NOW AS IT WAS IN THE
EARLY SECOND CENTURY AD.

Nigel says NICE, MARK.
NICE.

A man says I DIDN'T ACTUALLY MEAN
TO HIT YOUR CAMERA THEN.

Alice says THE MODERN RIDERS ARE
DISCOVERING FIRST-HAND THAT
ROMAN CAVALRY TOURNAMENTS WERE
PROBABLY ALSO A KEY PART OF
TRAINING SOLDIERS FOR WAR.
WITH ONE EXERCISE UNDER THEIR
BELTS, THEY'LL NOW ATTEMPT TWO
OTHER DISCIPLINES FROM THE
ROMAN CAVALRY TOURNAMENT.
THE PURSUIT, IN WHICH ONE
RIDER ATTACKS AND THEN FLEES,
DEFENDING THEIR BACK WITH THEIR
SHIELD.
AND THE CHARGE, WHICH IS LIKE
A MEDIEVAL JOUST, WHERE TWO
RIDERS MEET IN A CLASH OF
JAVELINS AT SPEED.
BUT DURING THE CHARGE, THE TEAM
GETS A TASTE OF JUST HOW TOUGH
ROMAN CAVALRY RIDING CAN BE.

A woman falls off a horse.

Nigel says GUYS, LUCY'S OFF.
LUCY'S OFF.
YOU OKAY?

Alice says LUCY IS WINDED BY THE FALL,
BUT NOTHING IS BROKEN.

Lucy says I'M FEELING OKAY.
BRUISED, BUT I'LL BE FINE.

A man says YOU'RE GOING TO GET BACK
IN THE SADDLE?

Lucy says I'M GOING TO GET BACK IN THE
SADDLE, YEP.
THAT'S WHAT WE DO.
WE FALL OFF.
WE GET BACK IN THE SADDLE.

Alice says THE RIDERS ARE RELYING
HEAVILY ON THEIR RECREATED
ROMAN SADDLES.
AND LUCY'S ACCIDENT HAS
HIGHLIGHTED THAT THEY'RE
TESTING THESE THINGS TO THEIR
LIMITS.
AND THEY'LL NEED TO IMPROVE
THEM.

Lucy says SO, THIS IS THE POINT AT
WHICH THE SADDLE IS ATTACHED.
THE GIRTH, IS WHERE WE TIE THE
GIRTH ON.
AND THERE ISN'T ONE ON THIS
SIDE.
IT IS HERE.
(LAUGHING)
SO THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.
THAT SHOULD BE THERE.
IT JUST RIPPED UNDER THE
PRESSURE.
SO THIS IS GOING TO NEED A GOOD
REPAIR BEFORE WE ACTUALLY GET
TO THE EVENT.

Alice says THE ELITE RIDERS WON'T
PRACTISE AGAIN AS A GROUP UNTIL
THEY MEET IN CARLISLE FOR THE
EVENT, WHEN THEY'LL HAVE TO
WORK WITH 24 OTHER RIDERS AS A
COMPLETE ROMAN TROOP.
THERE'S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO
BEFORE THEY CAN STAGE A
SUCCESSFUL TOURNAMENT.

Nigel says EVERY PIECE OF
EQUIPMENT YOU PUT ON MAKES IT
MORE DIFFICULT.
THE VISIBILITY WAS A BIT OF A
PROBLEM AT TIMES.
IT IS TIRING, VERY, VERY TIRING.
(CHUCKLING)
I'M VERY, VERY TIRED.
(LAUGHING)

Alice says FROM ANCIENT RECORDS, WE KNOW
THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN
AROUND 10,000 CAVALRYMEN IN
BRITAIN AT ANY ONE TIME.
BUT NOT ALL OF THEM WERE
STATIONED ON HADRIAN'S WALL.
THERE WAS, IN FACT, A NETWORK
OF CAVALRY FORTS LOCATED ACROSS
THE NORTH, ALL DESIGNED TO HELP
ROMANS CONTROL THE LOCAL
POPULATION.
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
CAVALRY BASES IN NORTHERN
BRITAIN WAS BUILT AT RIBCHESTER
NEAR MODERN PRESTON IN 70 AD.
AND CURRENTLY, ARCHAEOLOGISTS
ARE UNCOVERING NEW CLUES ABOUT
WHO THOSE CAVALRYMEN ACTUALLY
WERE.
SINCE 2015, A TEAM FROM THE
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL
LANCASHIRE HAS BEEN RUNNING
THIS NEW DIG AT RIBCHESTER.
MUCH OF THE FORT NOW LIES UNDER
THE MODERN VILLAGE, SO THE TEAM
HAS OPENED A TRENCH IN A BACK
GARDEN.
THEY'VE REVEALED A NUMBER OF
THE CAVALRY FORT'S BUILDINGS
AND ARE BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND
THE FORT'S LAYOUT.
BUT THEY'RE ALSO STARTING TO
FIND SMALL CLUES THAT CAN TELL
THEM MORE ABOUT WHERE THE MEN
WHO LIVED HERE CAME FROM.
DIG CO-DIRECTOR DUNCAN SAYER
IS EXAMINING AN INTRIGUING
PIECE OF POTTERY THE TEAM HAS
FOUND.

Duncan is in his forties, with short wavy graying hair and wears gray trousers, a light gray T-shirt, and an army green vest.

Duncan says UNDER THIS BUCKET, WE HAVE A
VAULTING TUBE.
THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A MUCH
LARGER OBJECT THAT COMES AROUND
OUT HERE SOMEWHERE.
IT HAS A TUBE ON ONE END, AND
THEN IT HAS A SOCKET ON THE
OTHER.
AND YOU CAN SEE ON THIS HERE,
IT JUST HAS SLIGHTLY MORE OF A
CURVE ON THIS SIDE THAN IT DOES
ON THIS SIDE.
SO WHEN YOU PUT LOTS AND LOTS
AND LOTS AND LOTS OF THOSE
TOGETHER, THEN IT CREATES
AN ARCH.
WHAT'S QUITE NICE ABOUT THIS IS,
THESE THINGS ARE SEEN ONLY IN
NORTH AFRICA AND AT CHESTERS
ROMAN FORT.
AND THAT'S REALLY INTERESTING,
BECAUSE THE SPANISH CAVALRY CAME
HERE FIRST, AND THEN THEY MOVED
ON TO CHESTERS.
AND SO, SOMEWHERE, THERE WOULD
BE THESE GENTLY DOMED BUILDINGS,
WHICH IS, I THINK, QUITE NICE.
IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED REALLY
QUITE EXOTIC AND EVEN OUT OF
PLACE IN RURAL LANCASHIRE.

Alice says THIS FORT WAS FIRST MANNED BY
A SPANISH CAVALRY REGIMENT,
WHO MUST HAVE BROUGHT THIS
EXOTIC ARCHITECTURE WITH THEM.
CAVALRYMEN WERE RECRUITED FROM
CONQUERED TRIBES ACROSS THE
ROMAN EMPIRE, FROM PLACES LIKE
FRANCE, SPAIN, THE NETHERLANDS,
EASTERN EUROPE, SYRIA, AND
NORTH AFRICA.
BUT AS WELL AS FINDING CLUES
ABOUT WHO THESE MEN WERE, THE
TEAM IS ALSO FINDING INCREDIBLE
PERSONAL ARTEFACTS THAT GIVE US
A GLIMPSE INTO DAILY LIFE HERE.
WHILE THEY TAKE A BREAK, DUNCAN
SAYER IS MEETING FIND
SPECIALIST JUSTINE BIDDLE TO
EXAMINE SOME OF THE MOST
RECENTLY DISCOVERED OBJECTS.

Duncan says WHAT IS THIS,
JUSTINE?

Justine is in her late forties, with shoulder length light brown hair and wears a blue T-shirt and a purple hooded jacket.

Justine says SO, THIS IS WHAT'S KNOWN AS
A TERRET RING THAT WOULD BE
PART OF A HORSE'S BRIDLE
FITTING.

Duncan says OKAY, SO WOULD THAT FIT
AROUND THE...?

Justine says IT WOULD GO...

Duncan says THERE.

Justine says --ON THE CHEEK.

Duncan says OH, SO THERE.

Justine says YEAH, EXACTLY THERE.
AND YOU'D HAVE ONE PART OF THE
REIN WOULD BE...
ONE PART OF THE HARNESS WOULD BE
GOING BACK TOWARDS THE HEAD AND
HOLDING THE HARNESS IN POSITION.

Duncan says THAT'S REALLY
INTERESTING, BECAUSE IT REALLY
GIVES US THAT EVIDENCE OF RIDDEN
HORSES...

Justine says ABSOLUTELY.

Dunce says --IN RIBCHESTER, WHICH IS
WHAT YOU'D EXPECT, ISN'T IT?

Justine says YEAH, NO, EXACTLY.

Duncan says AND THEN ONE OF THE BEST
PIECES OF DATING EVIDENCE ON A
ROMAN SITE IS JUST THAT YOU
EXPECT TO FIND LOADS OF COINS,
ESPECIALLY IN MILITARY SITES.

Justine says IT'S A SILVER DENARIUS OF
THE EMPEROR VESPASIAN.

Duncan says THERE HE IS.

Justine says IT'S GOT A DOLPHIN AND ANCHOR
ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF IT.
AND THAT WAS MINTED BETWEEN 79
AND 89 AD.

Duncan says PROBABLY COMES OVER AND IS
LOST FROM THE POCKET OR FROM THE
POUCH OF A ROMAN...

Justine says YEAH.

Duncan says --CAVALRY SOLDIER.

Justine says YEAH, ALMOST CERTAINLY.

Duncan says HE'D HAVE BEEN A BIT
ANNOYED ABOUT LOSING THAT.

Justine says HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REALLY
CROSS ABOUT LOSING THAT.
THAT'S QUITE A LOT OF MONEY
THAT'S JUST FALLEN INTO THE
DITCH.

(music plays)

Alice says BUT IT'S NOT ONLY DIGS THAT
CAN REVEAL NEW INFORMATION
ABOUT WHO THE CAVALRYMEN WERE.
AND SOMETIMES, THESE CLUES CAN
BE FOUND IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED
PLACES.
THIS IS HEXHAM ABBEY.
THE ORIGINAL CHURCH HERE WAS ONE
OF THE OLDEST IN BRITAIN.
BUT I'M AFTER SOMETHING EVEN
MORE ANCIENT, AND THAT'S ONE OF
THE MOST STRIKING TRACES THAT
WE HAVE OF THE ROMAN CAVALRY.
WHEN THE ORIGINAL SAXON CHURCH
WAS BUILT HERE AT HEXHAM, MUCH
OF THE STONE USED WAS ROBBED
FROM NEARBY ROMAN BUILDINGS.
DURING RENOVATION WORK IN THE
19TH CENTURY, WORKERS
DISCOVERED A HUGE FLAGSTONE IN
THE FLOOR.
WHEN IT WAS LIFTED, IT TURNED
OUT TO BE A ROMAN CAVALRY
TOMBSTONE.
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IT, I'M
MEETING LINDSAY ALLASON-JONES
OF NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY.
LINDSAY, THIS IS A MAGNIFICENT
TOMBSTONE.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY HUGE.
WHO IS THIS WE'RE LOOKING AT?

Lindsay is in her sixties, with long gray hair in a bun and wears a black and white printed blouse and a blue pant suit.

Lindsay says WELL, THIS IS A MAN CALLED
FLAVINUS, WHO WAS A
STANDARD-BEARER IN THE CAVALRY
REGIMENT OF PETRIANA.
AND YOU CAN SEE HE'S HOLDING THE
STANDARD THERE.

Alice says SO HE WAS PRESUMABLY VERY
WELL KNOWN.
HE WAS HIGH STATUS TO HAVE
SOMETHING LIKE THIS AS HIS GRAVE
MARKER.

Lindsay says THIS HAS BEEN AN EXTREMELY
EXPENSIVE GRAVESTONE.
IT'S GOT AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF
DECORATION AND DETAIL.
AND YOU CAN SEE ALL THE DETAIL
OF THE HORSE.
YOU CAN SEE THE HORSE'S MANE.
YOU CAN SEE ALL THE REINS AND
THE TRAPPINGS HERE.

Alice says ALL THOSE HORSE TRAPPINGS
THAT WE FIND ARCHAEOLOGICALLY.

Lindsay says YES.

Alice says AND YOU KNOW, HERE THEY ARE...

Lindsay says THERE THEY ARE.

Alice says --DISPLAYED.

Lindsay says YES, INDEED.

Alice says YEAH.
TOMBSTONES LIKE THIS HAVE BEEN
INVALUABLE IN REVEALING WHAT A
CAVALRYMAN LOOKED LIKE.
THEY SHOW US HOW THINGS LIKE
THE HORSE TACK AND THE WEAPONS
WERE ACTUALLY WORN.
BUT THIS TOMBSTONE CAN ALSO
REVEAL MORE ABOUT THIS
PARTICULAR MAN'S IDENTITY AND
HOW CAVALRYMEN WANTED TO BE
REMEMBERED.

Lindsay says HE'S SHOWN IN HEROIC POSE,
GALLOPING AWAY.
BUT THE POOR OLD BARBARIAN HE'S
SLAIN IS NOT IN HEROIC POSE.
HE'S BEING BOOTED UP THE
BACKSIDE.
BUT HE'S STILL HANGING ON TO HIS
SWORD AND FIGHTING BACK TO THE
END.

Alice says BUT BEING TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT.

Lindsay says ABSOLUTELY, YES.

Alice says YEAH.
SO, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THIS
MAN, OTHER THAN THAT HE'S
OBVIOUSLY IN THE CAVALRY?

Lindsay says WELL, THE
INSCRIPTION AT THE BOTTOM TELLS
US HIS NAME IS FLAVINUS.
BUT HE'S ONLY GOT THE ONE NAME,
WHICH SUGGESTS HE'S NOT A ROMAN
CITIZEN.
IT'S POSSIBLE THAT HE CAME FROM
GAUL OR FROM SPAIN.

Alice says AND IT'S INTERESTING THAT,
YOU KNOW, HE'S SHOWN TRAMPLING
A BARBARIAN.
BUT IF, AS YOU SAY, HE MAY HAVE
BEEN A CELT, HE MAY HAVE BEEN A
GAUL, THEN, YOU KNOW, HIS FAMILY
WOULD HAVE BEEN BARBARIANS JUST
A COUPLE OF GENERATIONS BACK.

Lindsay says YES, YES.
WELL, ONE MAN'S BARBARIAN IS
ANOTHER MAN'S NEIGHBOUR.
BUT THIS IS AN ARTISTIC TROPE.
THIS IS THE WAY CAVALRYMEN
LIKED TO BE SHOWN.

Alice says WHEREVER THEY CAME FROM, ONCE
THESE MEN WERE PART OF THE
ROMAN ARMY, THEY SEEMED TO HAVE
EMBRACED THEIR NEW ROLES
WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

Lindsay says THE IMPRESSION THIS TOMBSTONE
GIVES IS THAT HE MAY HAVE BEEN
FROM A NOBLE FAMILY.
AND IF YOU WERE A YOUNG MAN
WITH A HEROIC BENT WHO WAS KEEN
ON HORSES, THEN BECOMING A
CAVALRYMAN IN THE ROMAN ARMY
WAS THE BEST WAY TO REALLY LIVE
YOUR LIFE IN THE WAY YOU
WANTED TO.

Alice says THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF "IF
YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM, JOIN THEM,"
ISN'T THERE?

Lindsay says OH, YES, YES, I THINK SO.
YES.

Alice says YEAH.

Lindsay says YES, AND OF COURSE, HE WOULD
HAVE BEEN VERY WELL PAID AS
WELL.

Alice says YEAH.

Lindsay says ABLE TO AFFORD ALL THIS
BLING.

Alice says THE CAVALRYMEN WERE THE ELITE
OF THE ROMAN ARMY.
AND THIS STATUS DREW YOUNG MEN
FROM ACROSS THE ROMAN EMPIRE,
EVEN FROM CONQUERED PEOPLES,
INTO THEIR RANKS.
AND NOW, HAVING SEEN CAVALRY
KIT DEPICTED ON A TOMBSTONE AND
PIECES RECOVERED
ARCHEOLOGICALLY,
I WANT TO SEE WHAT THEY LOOKED
LIKE ON THE MEN AND THEIR
HORSES IN THE FLESH.
AND TO DO THAT, I'M JOINING
NIGEL, WHO WILL BE LEADING THE
ELITE RIDERS IN THE SHOW.
AND HE'S ALSO AN AMATEUR
HISTORIAN OF CAVALRY.
NIGEL, YOU'VE GOT SOME OF THE
KIT READY HERE.
TALK ME THROUGH IT.

Nigel says WELL, LET'S START WITH THE
FIRST PIECE OF PROTECTION.
THE IMPORTANT THING IS THE MAIL.
AND LIKE MOST THINGS ROMAN,
IT'S NOT ROMAN.
SO, IT'S BEEN ADOPTED FROM THE
GALLIC TRIBES.

Alice says CAN I SEE HOW HEAVY THAT IS?
(LAUGHING) OH, OKAY.

Nigel says I HAVEN'T WEIGHED IT,
BUT I THINK IT'S AROUND 11, 12
KILOS.

Alice says IT MUST BE AT LEAST THAT.
GOD, THAT'S A HUGE WEIGHT TO BE
CARRYING AROUND BEFORE YOU
START TO LOAD UP WITH ALL THE
WEAPONS THEMSELVES.

Nigel says ABSOLUTELY, YEAH.

Alice says I'LL HAND THAT TO YOU.

Nigel says BUT I MEAN, ONCE IT'S
ON YOUR BODY AND THE LOAD IS
SPREAD, YOU DON'T NOTICE IT AS
MUCH.

Alice says YEAH.
OKAY, SO, YOU'RE WEARING 12
KILOS' WORTH OF CHAINMAIL.
AND THEN YOU'RE CARRYING A
SHIELD AS WELL.
SO, THAT LOOKS PRETTY HEAVY.

Nigel says YEAH, WHICH EQUALLY IS
QUITE HEAVY.
HAVE A FEEL OF THAT.

Alice says YEAH.
SO, YOU WEAR THAT...
OH, HOW DO YOU WEAR THAT?
OH, THIS ARM.

Nigel says WELL, WE ARE USING THESE TWO
STRAPS.
THESE ARE NOT CORRECT.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says OKAY, NO EVIDENCE FOR
STRAPPING LIKE THAT.
BUT BECAUSE WE'RE USING MODERN
HORSES AND RIDING IN A MODERN
STYLE, WE'VE GOT TO COMPROMISE.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says OUR BEST GUESS FROM ALL OF
THE EVIDENCE IS THAT, ACTUALLY,
THEY ARE HOLDING THE SHIELD IN A
CENTRE GRIP...

Alice says OH, RIGHT.

Nigel says --WITH THE REINS IN THE SAME
HAND.
PART OF THE PROBLEM YOU'RE
GETTING AS WELL IS, THAT WEIGHT
MEANS THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS
UNBALANCED ON THE HORSE.
AND WHAT WE ARE STARTING TO FIND
AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS IS THAT
WE'RE ALL GETTING A LOT OF
PRESSURE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF
OUR GROIN.
AND THAT'S BECAUSE WE'RE
COUNTERBALANCING THAT WEIGHT
BY PUTTING MORE PRESSURE ON THE
RIGHT SIDE OF THE HORSE.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says SO WE'RE TIRING OUR RIGHT LEG
MORE THAN OUR LEFT LEG.

(music plays)

Alice says WHAT THE ELITE ROMAN CAVALRY
WERE MOST FAMOUS FOR WAS THEIR
MASKED HELMETS.
MANY OF THESE REMARKABLE
OBJECTS HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED
ACROSS EUROPE.
AND THESE FINDS HAVE PROVIDED
TEMPLATES FOR NIGEL AND HIS
TEAM'S MODERN RE-CREATIONS.
BUT ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE NEVER
BEEN SURE IF THESE ELABORATE
HELMETS WERE JUST FOR SHOW
OR WHETHER THEY COULD HAVE BEEN
USED IN COMBAT.

Nigel says SOME OF THESE HELMETS, LIKE
THIS SPORTS HELMET HERE, IS A
PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING CAVALRY
HELMET.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says THE ONLY THING THAT'S
DIFFERENT IS THE ADDITION OF THE
FACEMASK.
NOW, IF THAT FACEMASK IS MADE
TO FIT THE CAVALRYMAN'S FACE,
ABSOLUTELY FINE.
BETTER VISIBILITY THAN THE LATER
MEDIEVAL HELMET.
AND THE EFFECT PSYCHOLOGICALLY
ON AN ENEMY WOULD BE TREMENDOUS.

Alice says THERE'S SOMETHING
QUITE SCARY ABOUT THEM: THAT
EXPRESSIONLESS FACE, I THINK.

Nigel says YEAH.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says BUT THE IDEA THAT,
YOU KNOW, IT INHIBITS YOU SO
MUCH THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY ARE
IMPRACTICAL FOR USE...
WELL, WE'LL BE DEMONSTRATING
THAT'S NOT THE CASE.

Alice says CAN I TRY ONE?

Nigel says ABSOLUTELY.

Alice says SO, DO I PUT ONE OF
THESE ON FIRST?

Nigel says YEP.

Alice says OKAY, LET'S TRY THIS.

Nigel says OKAY.
IT SHOULD GO STRAIGHT ON.

Alice says OH, YEAH, IT'S QUITE A
SNUG FIT, ACTUALLY.

Nigel says YEAH.
WELL, IT NEEDS TO BE.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says WHAT YOU CAN'T HAVE IS IT
MOVING, BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN
YOU'LL BE BLIND.

Alice says YEAH.

Nigel says SO IT NEEDS TO BE...
YOU NEED TO GET USED TO THE
DISCOMFORT OF HAVING IT FIRMLY
FIXED OVER YOUR FACE.

Alice says I'M NOT EVEN MOVING IN
HERE, NIGEL, AND IT'S GETTING A
BIT HOT AND SWEATY ALREADY...

Nigel says YEAH.

Alice says --JUST FROM MY BREATHING.
I'M GOING TO TAKE THAT OFF.
UGH.
IT'S AMAZING TO KNOW SO MUCH
DETAIL, ISN'T IT?
A LOT OF THIS IS KIND OF WORKING
OUT WHAT WORKS, YOU KNOW, WHAT
KIND OF PADDING YOU NEED, HOW IT
ALL FITS TOGETHER, HOW IT ALL
WORKS TOGETHER.
AND YOU CAN ONLY REALLY DO THAT
BY TRYING IT OUT.

Nigel says YES, ABSOLUTELY.

(music plays)

Alice says I'M REALLY LOOKING
FORWARD TO THE TURMA THIS
AFTERNOON.
BUT I'VE ALREADY STARTED TO
LEARN A LOT MORE ABOUT THE
ROMAN CAVALRY FROM TALKING TO
THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS AND ABOUT
HOW IMPORTANT THIS EXPERIMENTAL
ARCHAEOLOGY IS WHEN SUDDENLY
ALL OF THEIR RESEARCH GETS
TESTED, GETS PUT INTO PRACTICE.
HOW DOES IT FEEL AND HOW DOES
IT WORK TO PUT ON ALL OF THAT
ARMOUR, ALL OF THAT KIT, GET ON
A HORSE, AND RIDE OUT INTO
BATTLE?
WHAT MADE THE ELITE ROMAN
CAVALRY SUCH FEARED WARRIORS
WASN'T JUST ACCESS TO THE BEST
KIT AVAILABLE BUT A GRUELLING
TRAINING REGIME.
BUT THE MODERN RIDERS WHO ARE
PUTTING ON THE CAVALRY
TOURNAMENT HAVE TO CRAM THEIR
ROMAN CAVALRY TRAINING INTO
JUST ONE SESSION THE DAY BEFORE
THE PERFORMANCE.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, ALL 30
HORSES AND RIDERS ARE IN ONE
PLACE.
THEY NEED TO GEL AS A UNIT AND
PERFECT A DIFFICULT MANOEUVRE
THAT'S A KEY PART OF THE SHOW.

Alan says THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST
CHALLENGING THINGS THAT I'VE
DONE.
TECHNICALLY, IT'S HUGELY
DIFFICULT, BRINGING TOGETHER
THIS NUMBER OF HORSES AND RIDERS
FOR THE FIRST TIME TO TRY AND
DO JUSTICE TO WHAT WAS AN ELITE
MILITARY FORCE.
ALL RIDERS, PLEASE!
(SOMEONE WHISTLING)
WHEN WE GO OUT NEXT, WE'RE GOING
TO GO OUT AS WE ARE.
WE'RE GOING TO GO OUT WITH
SHIELDS AND WITH SPEARS.
WE'RE GOING TO DO SOME BASIC
DRILL WITH THE WHOLE TURMA
TOGETHER.
WE'RE GOING TO MAKE OUR WAY
DOWN.
WE'RE GOING TO COME INTO THE
ARENA IN FILES, A BLUE FILE AND
A RED FILE.
I'M THEN GOING TO TAKE US
THROUGH SOME BASIC DRILL AROUND
THE ARENA, WHICH, AS YOU KNOW,
IS THE BASIS OF THE SHOW THIS
AFTERNOON.
MY PRIMARY CONCERN HAS ALWAYS
GOT TO BE THE HORSES AND
KEEPING THEM HAPPY AND HEALTHY.
YOU'VE ALSO GOT TO BE AWARE OF
HOW HARD YOU CAN PUSH MEN TO
ACHIEVE THE RESULT.
MORALE IS CRUCIAL.
(SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY)

Alice says BASED ON ANCIENT LITERATURE,
IT'S THOUGHT THAT A TURMA...
THE LATIN FOR TROOP-- WAS MADE
UP OF 30 HORSEMEN.
THE KEY THING TO PERFECT IN THE
REHEARSAL IS A WIELD, WHERE THE
WHOLE TURMA WILL RIDE AROUND
THE ARENA IN TWO RANKS AT A
TROT AND THEN AT A CANTER.

Alan says TURN!

Alice says IT'S A COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT
MANOEUVRE TO CHOREOGRAPH.

Alan says WIELD!
WIELD!

A man says YOU LEARN A LOT ABOUT HOW
THEY MUST HAVE DONE IT IN ROMAN
TIMES, BECAUSE WHEN YOU TRY
THIS STUFF YOURSELF, YOU
UNDERSTAND A WHOLE SET OF JUST
SMALL, PRACTICAL DETAILS.
BUT THEY ADD UP.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING WE THINK
ABOUT, TRAINING THE MEN, THE
CAVALRYMEN.
BUT IN SOME WAYS, THEY ARE MUCH
LESS IMPORTANT THAN TRAINING THE
CAVALRY HORSES TOGETHER.
SO YOU LEARN ALL SORTS OF
THINGS, AS WELL AS SMALL
DETAILS OF TACK AND KIT AND
SO ON.
AND A LOT OF THE SKILLS REALLY
MUST HAVE TAKEN YEARS OF
PRACTICE TO GET PERFECTED.
(PEOPLE LAUGHING)
WE'RE PLAYING CATCH-UP.
THEY HAD IT.
THEY WERE THE MASTERS, AND
WE'RE PLAYING CATCH-UP.

A woman says BOTH LOOKING FORWARD
TO IT AND A BIT NERVOUS ABOUT
IT.
I THINK THIS IS THE MOST
NERVOUS I'VE BEEN ABOUT A
RE-ENACTMENT.
I DO SO MANY OF THEM EACH YEAR,
BUT THIS ONE SEEMS TO BE A
HIGHER STAKES.
AND WE HAVE MORE TO PROVE OR
MORE THAT CAN GO WRONG.

Alice says I REALLY FEEL I'M BEGINNING
TO BUILD UP A PICTURE OF WHO
THESE ROMAN CAVALRYMEN WERE.
I'VE SEEN HOW THEY RODE...
HOW THEY TRAINED...
AND HOW THEY DRESSED.
BUT I WANT TO DISCOVER MORE
ABOUT WHAT THEIR OWN
EXPERIENCES WERE LIKE HERE ON
THE FRINGES OF THE ROMAN
EMPIRE.
AND TO DO THAT, I'M VISITING A
PLACE WHERE YOU CAN ALMOST
DISAPPEAR BACK INTO THE ROMAN
PAST.
IT'S SO FRESH AND VISCERAL.
IT'S CALLED VINDOLANDA, AND
IT'S ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES IN BRITAIN.
IT WAS A ROMAN MILITARY FORT,
WHICH WAS IN USE FOR CENTURIES.
IN FACT, THERE WERE NINE
DIFFERENT FORTS HERE, ALL BUILT
ONE ON TOP OF ANOTHER.
WHEN DIGGING BEGAN HERE IN THE
1970S, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT
THE DEEP LEVELS WERE AMAZINGLY
WELL PRESERVED BECAUSE THEY
WERE WATERLOGGED AND CONTAINED
VERY LITTLE OXYGEN.
THIS LACK OF OXYGEN MEANT THAT
ORGANIC OBJECTS, WHICH USUALLY
DECAY IN THE GROUND, HAD BEEN
PRESERVED.
THINGS LIKE WOOD, BONE, AND
LEATHER SURVIVE IN ALMOST
PERFECT CONDITION AT
VINDOLANDA.
IT SEEMS I'VE PICKED JUST ABOUT
THE WORST DAY TO VISIT THIS
DIGGING SEASON.
TORRENTIAL RAIN HAS MEANT THAT
THE EXCAVATIONS HAVE BEEN
ABANDONED.
THAT DOESN'T MATTER, BECAUSE
I'M MOST INTERESTED IN SEEING
SOME OF THE SMALL FINDS THAT
HAVE EMERGED FROM THIS
EXTRAORDINARY SITE OVER THE
YEARS.
AND TO SEE WHAT THESE FINDS
FROM VINDOLANDA CAN TELL US
ABOUT THE CAVALRY AND THEIR
LIVES ON THE NORTHERN FRONTIER,
I'M ON MY WAY TO THE MUSEUM
STORES TO MEET CURATOR
BARBARA BURLEY.
BARBARA, IT'S ALWAYS ASTONISHING
TO SEE THE PRESERVATION OF
THINGS LIKE LEATHER AT
VINDOLANDA.
WHAT WAS THIS LEATHER OBJECT?

Barbara is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair and wears a black top, a black jacket and pendant earrings.

Barbara says WELL, WE KNOW BY KIND OF
LOOKING AT ALL OF THE DIFFERENT
FRAGMENTS THAT IT'S ACTUALLY
PART OF A HORSE'S CHAMFRON...

Alice says IS IT?

Barbara says --WHICH IS A CEREMONIAL HEAD
MASK THAT THEY WEAR.
AND IF YOU START TO LOOK AT
THIS PIECE HERE, IT'S THE KIND
OF TELLTALE SHAPE OF THE HORSE'S
EAR.

Alice says AND IS THIS POSSIBLY
THE EDGE OF AN EYEHOLE THERE?

Barbara says EXACTLY, YEAH.
SO THAT WOULD BE WHERE THE
HORSE'S EYE WOULD COME THROUGH.
AND YOU WOULD HAVE SOMETHING
LIKE A DECORATED KIND OF EYE
GUARD.

Alice says YEAH.

Barbara says AND SO, IT WAS HIGHLY
DECORATIVE.
BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL PIECE.

Alice says YEAH.

(music plays)

Alice says THIS FIND AND SEVERAL OTHERS
HAVE ALLOWED THE TEAM HERE TO
RECONSTRUCT A CAVALRY CHAMFRON.
THE INCREDIBLE PRESERVATION AT
VINDOLANDA ALSO LED TO ONE OF
THE MOST IMPORTANT
ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES OF
THE 20TH CENTURY.
DURING ONE OF THE FIRST DIGGING
SEASONS HERE, IN 1973, THE SITE
DIRECTOR, ROBIN BURLEY, WAS
WORKING IN ONE OF THE DEEP
LEVELS WHEN HE DISCOVERED SMALL
FRAGMENTS OF WOOD WITH WRITING
ON THEM.
WHAT HE'D FOUND WERE ROMAN
WRITING TABLETS, LETTERS,
ACCOUNTS, AND OFFICIAL
DOCUMENTS FROM THE FORT.
ONCE OUT OF THE GROUND, THE
WRITING BEGAN TO DISAPPEAR
ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.
SO THEY WERE SENT TO
SPECIALISTS WHO PHOTOGRAPHED
THEM WITH INFRARED CAMERAS,
WHICH REVEALED THE VANISHED
TEXT.
THESE DOCUMENTS HAVE GIVEN US A
UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO LIFE ON THE
NORTHERN FRONTIER.
BUT WHAT'S OFTEN OVERLOOKED IS
THAT MANY OF THEM ARE WRITTEN
BY OR ABOUT THE CAVALRYMEN.
IN ONE FAMOUS LETTER, WHICH
SEEMS TO BE AN INTELLIGENCE
REPORT FOR VINDOLANDA'S
CAVALRYMEN, WE LEARN ABOUT THE
ENEMY THEY HAD TO FACE.

An excerpt reads "The Britons are unprotected by armour. There are very many cavalry. The cavalry do not use swords, nor do the wretched Britons mount in order to throw javelins."

Alice says AFTER YEARS OF RESEARCH,
BARBARA AND HER TEAM ARE ALSO
STARTING TO DISCOVER PERSONAL
STORIES ABOUT INDIVIDUAL
CAVALRYMEN FROM THE VINDOLANDA
LETTERS.
AND YOU'VE GOT SOME
REPRODUCTIONS HERE OF A COUPLE
OF THE WONDERFUL VINDOLANDA
LETTERS.
WHAT ARE THESE REFERRING TO?

Barbara says WELL, THE LETTERS AND THE
WRITING TABLETS GIVE US SUCH A
GOOD IDEA OF THE ACTUAL PEOPLE
HERE.
BOTH OF THESE ARE ACCOUNTS, AND
THEY TALK ABOUT A SINGLE
INDIVIDUAL.
HIS NAME WAS TAGOMAS, AND HE'S
FROM THE VARDULLIAN CAVALRY.
AND HIS NAME IS JUST ACROSS
HERE.

Alice says IT'S DIFFICULT TO MAKE
OUT, ISN'T IT?

Barbara says IT IS VERY
DIFFICULT.
BUT THE INTERESTING THING ABOUT
THIS PARTICULAR LETTER IS,
IT SAYS, "TAGOMAS'S COMPANION."
NOW, IF THAT WAS A MAN, YOU
WOULD JUST PUT HIS NAME.
SO THE IDEA IS THAT IT WAS HIS
COMMON-LAW WIFE, BECAUSE AT
THIS PERIOD ON THE SITE, THEY
WEREN'T ALLOWED TO MARRY.
THIS ONE HERE AGAIN TALKS ABOUT
TAGOMAS, AND HE'S RIGHT HERE.
AND HE IS A VEXILLARIUS, WHICH
MEANS THAT HE IS THE
STANDARD-BEARER FOR THE
VARDULLI CAVALRY.

Alice says YEAH.

Barbara says AND HERE, HE'S
PURCHASING LANCES, A COMMON
CAVALRY EQUIPMENT, SO IT'S NOT
HUGELY SURPRISING.
BUT HIS STORY GOES FURTHER,
BECAUSE NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE HIM
IN THE TABLETS, BUT WE ALSO
HAVE HIM ON THIS AMPHORA
HANDLE.
SO, YOU CAN JUST SEE
T-A-G-O-M-A-S, TAGOMAS.
WHATEVER WAS IN HERE-- AND WE
THINK IT WAS OLIVES STEWED IN
WINE-- HE DIDN'T TRUST HIS
FELLOW OFFICERS, BECAUSE HE HAD
TO WRITE HIS NAME ON HIS
PRECIOUS IMPORTED FOOD.

Alice says YEAH.

Barbara says SO, YOU START TO
BUILD UP THESE PICTURES: THAT HE
WAS MARRIED, THAT HE, YOU KNOW,
HE HAS HIS FRIENDS, AND WHAT
HE'S ORDERING AND WHAT HE'S
DOING.
ALSO THAT HE LIKES HIS FOOD.
HE'S GOT ENOUGH MONEY TO IMPORT
FOOD THAT WOULDN'T NORMALLY
GROW IN NORTHUMBERLAND.
SO YOU'RE STARTING TO REALLY
BUILD UP THIS LOVELY PICTURE OF
WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE.

(music plays)

Alice says I'VE BEEN TRYING TO
GET A BETTER PICTURE OF THE
ROMAN CAVALRY.
AND IT'S HERE AT VINDOLANDA
THAT I FEEL THAT IT'S FINALLY
COMING INTO FOCUS, THAT WE HAVE
THIS WONDERFUL EVIDENCE...
WRITTEN EVIDENCE-- OF PRECISELY
WHICH TROOPS WERE GARRISONED
HERE.
BUT ACTUALLY, WE'RE HOMING
RIGHT IN.
AND WE HAVE THE NAME OF THIS
ONE MAN WHO WE KNOW WAS THE
STANDARD-BEARER FOR HIS TROOP.
FOR MUCH OF THE ROMAN
OCCUPATION, THE CAVALRY AT
PLACES LIKE VINDOLANDA WERE
HERE TO SUPPRESS OUR ANCIENT
ANCESTORS.
BUT OVER THE CENTURIES OF ROMAN
RULE, THAT RELATIONSHIP
EVOLVED, AND THEY BEGAN TO PUT
DOWN ROOTS.
THIRTY MILES SOUTH OF HADRIAN'S
WALL, AT BINCHESTER, COUNTY
DURHAM, ARCHAEOLOGISTS ARE
WORKING AT THE SITE OF ANOTHER
CAVALRY FORT.
AND THEY'RE FINDING EVIDENCE
THAT IT WASN'T JUST CAVALRYMEN
LIVING HERE BUT THEIR FAMILIES,
TOO.
THE TEAM IS FROM DURHAM
UNIVERSITY, AND THEY'RE
EXCAVATING THE FORT'S CEMETERY.
BUT THEY'RE FACING AN UPHILL
STRUGGLE.
THE SOIL CONDITIONS MEAN THAT
LITTLE SURVIVES IN THIS GROUND.
LEADING THE DIG IS DR. DAVID
PETTS.

David is in his forties, with short wavy graying hair and a beard. He wears glasses, jeans, a gingham shirt, a black jacket and a khaki cap hat.


David says ONE OF THE TROUBLES
WE'VE BEEN FIGHTING IS, THE SOIL
IS REALLY ACID.
SO, NORMALLY, WHEN YOU'RE
LOOKING FOR A CEMETERY, YOU
WOULD FIND BONES THAT WOULD
TELL YOU IT'S A GRAVE.
INSTEAD, WE JUST HAVE THINGS
LIKE THIS, SIX-FOOT-LONG PITS,
WHICH MOST OF THE TIME CONTAIN
VIRTUALLY NOTHING IN THEM.

Alice says BUT BY CHANCE, IN ONE CORNER
OF THE TRENCH, THE TEAM HAS
FOUND A SKELETON THAT HAS
SURVIVED THE ACID SOIL
CONDITIONS.
IT MIGHT BE ABLE TO GIVE THE
TEAM SOME INSIGHTS INTO THE
PEOPLE WHO LIVED HERE.

David says WE CAN SEE SOME OF THE BONES
SURVIVE, BITS OF THE SKULL,
BITS OF THE LOWER JAW YOU CAN
SEE.
WHAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO DO IS
GET A LOT OF INFORMATION FROM
THE TEETH.
AND WE CAN LOOK AT THE CHEMISTRY
OF THOSE TEETH, AND THEY TELL
US QUITE A LOT OF INFORMATION.
SO, THEY'LL TELL US ABOUT THINGS
LIKE THEIR DIET: SO, PROPORTION
OF MEAT AND VEGETABLES WHICH
THESE PEOPLE WERE EATING.
THAT'S QUITE INTERESTING,
BECAUSE YOU MIGHT EXPECT THE
SOLDIERS TO HAVE BETTER DIETS
THAN THE CIVILIANS.
IT HAS ALSO POTENTIAL TO TELL US
EVEN BROADLY WHERE THESE PEOPLE
CAME FROM.
SO, IS IT SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN
AND BROUGHT UP HERE?
OR IS IT SOMEONE WHO CAME FROM
ANOTHER PART OF ROMAN BRITAIN OR
ELSEWHERE IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE?
SO BY LOOKING AT THE TEETH,
DOING STUFF BACK IN THE LAB,
WE CAN DRAW A REMARKABLE AMOUNT
OF INFORMATION, EVEN FROM A
QUITE POORLY PRESERVED SKELETON
LIKE THIS.

Alice says THESE RESULTS WILL BE ANOTHER
USEFUL PIECE OF THE JIGSAW
PUZZLE TO HELP ARCHAEOLOGISTS
UNDERSTAND WHO WAS LIVING AT
THIS FORT IN LATE ROMAN
BRITAIN.
IN ANOTHER AREA OF THE SITE,
ONE OF THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS HAS
MADE A DISCOVERY WHICH ADDS
WEIGHT TO THE IDEA THAT THE
FORT CONTAINED NOT ONLY THE
SOLDIERS BUT THEIR FAMILIES.
IT'S A CHILD'S GRAVE.

David says SO, WE'VE NOW GOT TWO
BEADS-- HAVE COME OUT OF THIS
LITTLE FEATURE.
BUT I THINK BECAUSE WE'RE
GETTING THIS LITTLE GROUP OF
BEADS, IT SUGGESTS IT'S A
CHILD'S GRAVE.

Alice says EVEN THOUGH NO BONES HAVE
SURVIVED HERE, THIS PIT IS MOST
LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN A GRAVE.
AND THESE BEADS WOULD HAVE
ACCOMPANIED THE CHILD'S BODY.

David says WHAT'S CLEAR HERE IS,
WE'VE GOT ALL PARTS OF SOCIETY.
SO IT'S NOT JUST FOR SOLDIERS,
BUT IT'S THEIR CHILDREN,
BECAUSE WE'VE GOT CHILDREN'S
GRAVES.
IT'S FOR, PRESUMABLY, THEIR
WIVES, BECAUSE WE'VE GOT ADULT
GRAVES WITH FEMALE JEWELLERY.
A FORT LIKE THIS, IT'S NOT JUST
ISOLATED SOLDIERS IN THE MIDDLE
OF NOWHERE.
THEY'RE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE
EMPIRE BIGGER AND PROTECT IT.
BUT THEY ARE MARRYING WITH THE
PEOPLE WHO, GENERATIONS AGO,
THEY ACTUALLY CONQUERED.
AND IT'S REALLY LOVELY TO THINK
ABOUT HOW THESE POPULATIONS
WORKED.

Alice says IN CARLISLE, THE FINAL
PREPARATIONS ARE BEING MADE FOR
THE BIG SHOW.
BUT HAVING 30 RIDERS ALL
TOGETHER IS A UNIQUE
OPPORTUNITY FOR THE
ARCHAEOLOGISTS.
AND SO THEY'VE DECIDED TO ASK
ALAN AND HIS RIDERS TO TEST OUT
SOME OF THEIR THEORIES ABOUT
THE CAVALRY THAT GO BEYOND THE
TOURNAMENT ITSELF.
THEY WANT TO TRY TO ANSWER A
KEY QUESTION ABOUT HOW THE
CAVALRY FOUGHT AND DISCOVER IF
A CERTAIN BATTLE FORMATION
THEY'VE READ ABOUT IN ANCIENT
LITERATURE CAN ACTUALLY BE
PERFORMED IN REAL LIFE.
I'M JOINING ARCHAEOLOGIST AND
EVENT ORGANISER BILL GRIFFITHS
TO SEE IF ALAN AND HIS TEAM CAN
PROVIDE SOME ANSWERS.
SO, WHAT ARE THE MAIN RESEARCH
QUESTIONS FOR YOU, THEN?
WHAT WOULD YOU REALLY LIKE TO
FIND OUT TODAY?

Bill says NO ONE HAS DONE THIS
BEFORE-- PUT 30 RIDERS IN FULL
KIT IN A FIELD.

Alice says REALLY?

Bill says NO, NO ONE'S DONE IT.
WELL, THE ROMANS DID...

Alice says YEAH, YEAH.

Bill says --BUT NOT SINCE AND WITH THE
PROPER AUTHENTIC KIT, WITH THE
STIRRUP-LESS SADDLES, ALL THESE
KINDS OF THINGS.
AND WE JUST WANT TO SEE IF WE
CAN LEARN SOME NEW DATA ABOUT
HOW THESE CAVALRYMEN RODE, WHAT
IT WAS LIKE TO RIDE IN THE UNIT,
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RIDE IN
FORMATION.

Alice says BILL AND THE OTHER
ARCHAEOLOGISTS WANT TO SEE HOW
THE ROMAN CAVALRY MIGHT HAVE
ATTACKED THEIR BRITISH ENEMIES.

Bill says THERE ARE SOME LITERARY
TEXTS THAT DESCRIBE ROMAN
CAVALRY DRILL, BUT ALL WE'VE GOT
IS THE WORDS.

Alice says YEAH.

Bill says SO AT THE MOMENT, WE'VE BEEN
INTERPRETING THE WORDS.
NOW, ARE WE INTERPRETING THEM
RIGHT?
ACTUALLY, ONCE YOU HAVE THE
HORSES WITH YOU, YOU CAN START
TO PLAY ABOUT AND SAY, "WELL,
ACTUALLY, YOU CAN DO THIS.
YOU CAN'T DO THAT."

Alice says ALAN AND HIS RIDERS ARE GOING
TO ATTEMPT TO CREATE A BATTLE
FORMATION CALLED THE WEDGE.
THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS THINK THIS
MIGHT HAVE BEEN USED TO ATTACK
ENEMY FORMATIONS, SOWING PANIC
IN THEIR RANKS.

Alan says SO, WE'RE NOW ASSEMBLING THE
CUNEO, THE WEDGE.

Bill says GREAT.

Alan says YEAH, AND WE'LL SEE HOW THAT
GOES.

Bill says FANTASTIC.

Alice says SO, IS THIS THE BATTLE
FORMATION, THEN?

Bill says IT'S THE BATTLE FORMATION.
I MEAN, SOMETIMES THE CAVALRY
DESCRIBED THE CUNEUS, WHICH IS
THE WEDGE.
SO, IT'S REALLY JUST, FORM A
TRIANGLE TO BREAK INTO THE
RANKS OF YOUR ENEMY.

Alice says THE RIDERS CAREFULLY FORM UP
IN RANKS TO CREATE A WEDGE
SHAPE.

Alice gasps.

(GASPING)
(SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY)

Alice says SO, THIS IS THE WEDGE
FORMATION.
THIS IS THE CUNEO CANTERING.

Bill says YEAH.

Alice says AND THEY'RE HOLDING IT
TOGETHER.
THAT'S AMAZING, BILL.

Bill says YEAH.
JUST FIRST TIME OUT, AND
THEY'VE DONE IT, NAILED IT.

Alice says THAT'S FANTASTIC.

Bill says SO IT PROVES IT'S
POSSIBLE.

Alice says YEAH.

Alan shouts AVE!
(SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY)

Alice says IT'S QUITE TERRIFYING,
ACTUALLY, STANDING HERE AS
THEY'RE COMING TOWARDS US.

Bill says AND WE'RE AT THE SIDE OF IT.
IMAGINE THAT COMING STRAIGHT
AT YOU.

Alice says YEAH, WOW.

Bill says YOU KNOW, THAT WOULD BE
A TERRIFYING SIGHT.
AND YOU KNOW, YOUR FIRST
INSTINCT IS GOING TO BE TO
RUN AWAY.

Alice says ALAN AND HIS TEAM HAVE
MANAGED TO RECREATE SOMETHING
THAT HASN'T BEEN SEEN FOR OVER
1,600 YEARS.
AND THE ACADEMICS HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO PROVE THAT IT WAS
EASILY POSSIBLE FOR THE ROMAN
CAVALRY TO ATTACK THEIR ENEMIES
USING THE CUNEUS OR WEDGE
FORMATION.

All cavalry shout AVE!

Alice says BUT THE CAVALRY WEREN'T JUST
THE MOST FEARED SOLDIERS IN THE
ROMAN ARMY.
FROM ANCIENT LITERATURE, WE
ALSO KNOW THEY WERE THE BEST
PAID, OUTSTRIPPING EVEN THE
CITIZEN SOLDIERS OF THE
LEGIONS.
TO SEE FOR MYSELF WHAT THEIR
HUGE PAY PACKETS WERE SPENT ON,
I'M BACK AT CHESTERS ROMAN FORT
ON HADRIAN'S WALL.
I'M MEETING FRANCES MCINTOSH OF
ENGLISH HERITAGE, WHO'S BEEN
RE-EXAMINING THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL
COLLECTION AT CHESTERS, WHICH
WAS DUG UP IN THE VICTORIAN
ERA.
THE OBJECTS IN THE MUSEUM HERE
REALLY HIGHLIGHT JUST HOW
WEALTHY AND POWERFUL THE ROMAN
CAVALRY WERE IN BRITAIN.
SO, THESE OBJECTS WERE EXCAVATED
MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO?

Frances is in her thirties, with short straight blond hair and wears off white trousers, a blue shirt and a white cardigan sweater.

Frances says THAT'S RIGHT.
SO, JOHN CLAYTON INHERITED THE
BIG MANSION HOUSE AT CHESTERS
IN THE 1830S.
AND HE HAD CHESTERS ROMAN FORT
IN HIS FRONT GARDEN.
SO, HE EXCAVATED THERE NEARLY
EVERY YEAR UNTIL HE DIED IN
1890.

Alice says SO WE'VE GOT ALL OF THOSE
FANTASTIC OBJECTS FROM THOSE
EXCAVATIONS.
BUT YOU'VE BEEN TAKING ANOTHER
LOOK AT THEM, HAVEN'T YOU?

Frances says SCHOLARSHIP'S CHANGED A HUGE
AMOUNT IN THAT AMOUNT OF TIME.
WE'VE LEARNT A LOT.
THERE'S BEEN A LOT MORE FINDS,
WHICH GIVE US DIFFERENT
INFORMATION.
SO, ONE OF THE THINGS RELATED
TO THE CAVALRY THAT WE WERE ABLE
TO DISCOVER IS THAT THESE BEADS
HERE, THAT HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
PRESUMED TO BE KIND OF
JEWELLERY, WE NOW KNOW FROM
FINDS THEY'VE BEEN STRUNG ON
HARNESS.

Alice says SO YOU HAVE MADE NEW
DISCOVERIES BY REVISITING THESE
OLD FINDS?

Frances says EXACTLY, SO EVEN THOUGH I
WASN'T EXCAVATING, YOU KNOW, I
WAS KIND OF EXCAVATING THE
BOXES AND FINDING OUT NEW
THINGS.
IT'S BEEN REALLY EXCITING.

Alice says AND THESE THINGS LOOK
AS THOUGH THEY WOULD HANG DOWN
OFF HORSES.

Frances says THAT'S RIGHT.
SO, THESE ARE SOME OF THE
PENDANTS THAT WE HAVE.
THIS ONE IS A REALLY NICE
EXAMPLE, BECAUSE IT HAS THE HOOK
PRETTY MUCH COMPLETE.
AND IF YOU SEE, THE DESIGN
THERE IS TWO DOLPHINS.

Alice says OH, YEAH.
SO THAT WOULD'VE BEEN VERY
BRIGHT AND GOLDEN, HANGING DOWN
OFF THE HARNESS AND JINGLING.

Frances says YEAH, AND GLITTERING,
CATCHING THE SUN.
MAKES THE HORSEMAN LOOK VERY
IMPRESSIVE AND SOUND VERY
IMPRESSIVE WHEN THEY'RE
ADVANCING.

Alice says NOW, THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL
THING.
WHAT'S THAT?

Frances says IT IS.
SO, THIS IS A DECORATIVE
ELEMENT.
IT'S A STUD.
YOU NEED TO SEE IT CLOSE UP TO
GET THE REAL IDEA OF THE
AMAZING DECORATION.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS.
IT WOULD'VE BEEN MOUNTED ON
HARNESS.
IMAGINE THE METAL IS BRIGHT AND
SHINY, AND IT'S GOT THIS
MILLEFIORE ENAMEL.

Alice says SO, THIS IS GLASS...

Frances says THAT'S RIGHT, SO IN
THOSE...

Alice says --EMBEDDED IN IT.

Frances says --RODS THAT ARE TWISTED
TOGETHER TO MAKE THE PATTERN AND
THEN STRETCHED AND STRETCHED
UNTIL IT'S TINY...
AND THEN YOU SALAMI-SLICE IT AND
SET IT IN.

Alice says ISN'T THAT WONDERFUL?

Frances says IT'S ABSOLUTELY
GORGEOUS.
AND THE OTHER ROMANS AND OTHER
PEOPLE IN BRITAIN WOULD
APPRECIATE HOW EXPENSIVE THAT
WAS AND THE WORK THAT HAD GONE
INTO THAT.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE IMAGE AND
PROJECTING THE FACT THAT YOU'RE
A CAVALRYMAN.
YOU'RE PAID MORE.
YOU CAN AFFORD TO DECORATE YOUR
HORSE.

Alice says OH, THEY'D HAVE LOOKED
AMAZING, WOULDN'T THEY?

Frances says YEAH.

(music plays)

Alice says IT IS THE AFTERNOON OF THE
BIG SHOW IN CARLISLE.
ALL THE TRAINING AND PRACTICE
THE MODERN RIDERS HAVE PUT IN
IS GOING TO BE PUT TO THE TEST
IN FRONT OF A PAYING AUDIENCE.
(KIDS SHOUTING)
AND FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS,
IT'S A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO
SEE THEIR THEORIES AND
ASSUMPTIONS PUT TO THE TEST.

The caption changes to "Doctor Mike Bishop. University of Oxford."

Mike is in his sixties, with short wavy gray hair and a beard. He wears a purple sweater and a blue windbreaker.

Mike says EVENTS LIKE THIS ARE ALWAYS
USEFUL, BECAUSE HOWEVER MUCH
THEORISING YOU DO ABOUT THINGS,
ONCE YOU ACTUALLY SEE WHAT CAN
BE DONE WITH A HORSE AND A
RIDER, YOU HAVE A MUCH BETTER
IDEA OF WHAT THE ANCIENT TEXTS
ARE SAYING.
AND THAT'S SO MUCH MORE
VALUABLE.

Alice says BACKSTAGE, THE RIDERS ARE
READYING THE HORSES AND
CHECKING AND RECHECKING
THEIR KIT.
AS THE AUDIENCE BEGINS TO
STREAM INTO THE ARENA, I'M
GOING BEHIND THE SCENES TO SEE
THE FINAL PREPARATIONS
FOR MYSELF.
HOW'S IT GOING, NIGEL?
ARE YOU NEARLY READY?

Nigel says YEAH.
IT'S BEEN A REALLY HARD ROAD.
I THINK IT SURPRISED US ALL, YOU
KNOW, JUST HOW TOUGH IT WAS
GOING TO BE.

Alice says YEAH.
HASN'T STOPPED YET, THOUGH.

Nigel says NO.

Alice says SO, WE'RE MINUTES
AWAY, AREN'T WE?

Nigel says YES, I BELIEVE SO.
I'VE LOST ALL TRACK OF TIME,
TO BE HONEST.
I'M JUST WAITING FOR THE ORDER.

Alice says THERE'S AN INCREDIBLE SENSE
OF EXCITEMENT JUST BUBBLING
UNDER THE SURFACE HERE.
AND THE RIDERS ARE JUST ABOUT TO
SET OFF INTO THE ARENA.
I'M GOING TO GO IN AND TAKE MY
SEAT.
I CANNOT WAIT.
I'M GOING TO BE WATCHING THE
ACTION UNFOLD IN THE COMPANY
OF BILL GRIFFITHS, WHO, ALONG
WITH THE OTHER EXPERTS HERE,
HAS SPENT YEARS WAITING FOR
THIS MOMENT.
IN ROMAN TIMES, THESE EVENTS
WERE COMPETITIONS WHERE RIDERS
BATTLED IT OUT FOR GLORY AND
REWARD IN FRONT OF THE EMPEROR
AND THE CROWD.
AND TO RECREATE SOME OF THAT
ATMOSPHERE TODAY, THE CROWD HAS
BEEN SPLIT INTO TWO TEAMS,
RED AND BLUE.

Bill says YOU'RE ON THE RED SIDE.
I'M ON THE BLUE SIDE.

Alice says YEAH, AND YOU'RE WEARING A
BLUE TOP AS WELL, SO YEAH.

Bill says THERE YOU GO.
I DO, YEAH.

Alice says I'VE GOT RED, YEAH.

A man says RED TEAM!
(CHEERING)

Alice says THAT'S MY TEAM.
(BOTH LAUGHING)

The man says FOR THE RIDERS OF THE
BLUE TEAM!

Bill cheers.

Alice says NO.

Bill says YES!

Alice says NO, DEFINITELY NOT.

Bill says OH, THAT'S ONE FOR ME,
I THINK.
WE'RE WINNING ON THE CHEERS.

Alice says HEY!

Bill says YAY!

Alice says THE FIRST PART OF THE SHOW
SEES THE LEGIONARIES OF THE
ERMINE STREET GUARDS STRUTTING
THEIR STUFF.

The man says OVER THEIR HEADS.
(SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)
(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

Alice says THEN IT'S TIME FOR ALAN,
NIGEL, AND ALL 30 RIDERS TO
TAKE CENTRE STAGE.

The man says AS WE TURN THE PAGES OF
TIME BACK...

Alice says SO, THEY'RE WALKING THE TROOP
ROUND THE ARENA AT THE MOMENT.
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO BE DOING?

Bill says WELL, YOU'RE GOING TO
SEE THEM START TO FORM THE
CANTABRIAN CIRCLES AND THEN
BRING OUT THE BEST OF THE TROOPS
TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR PROWESS AND
SKILL AT ARMS IN FRONT OF THEIR
EMPEROR, COMPETING FOR HIS
FAVOUR.

Alice says NIGEL AND THE OTHER ELITE
RIDERS TAKE THEIR POSITIONS FOR
THE FIRST PART OF THE
COMPETITION.
THREE ARE CARRYING RED SHIELDS,
AND THREE ARE CARRYING BLUE
SHIELDS.
THEY'LL TRY TO SCORE POINTS FOR
THEIR TEAM BY HITTING THEIR
OPPONENTS' SHIELDS WITH BLUNTED
JAVELINS.
WE SHOULD HAVE A...
WE SHOULD PUT A BET ON THIS.
(LAUGHING)
ARE YOU WILLING TO BET TWO
DENARII?

The man over the speaker says AND HERE WE GO.

Alice says THE FIRST TEST IS THE
CANTABRIAN WHEEL.

The man OH, YES!
(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
THEY CAN THROW AGAIN.

Alice says ALL THE TRAINING AND HARD
WORK HAS PAID OFF.
AND EVEN WEARING THOSE
RESTRICTIVE FACEMASKS, THE TEAM
MANAGES TO HIT THEIR TARGETS
AT SPEED.

The man says BLUE TEAM, THREE POINTS!

Bill says OH, THREE TO ME.
(CHEERING, APPLAUDING)

Alice says NEXT IS THE CHARGE, WHICH IS
LIKE A MEDIEVAL JOUST BUT WITH
THROWN JAVELINS.

The man says HERE ARE THE RED TEAM.
RED POINT!
(CHEERING)
(CHEERING)
RED TEAM, THREE POINTS!

Bill says OH, IT'S CLOSE.
(ALICE LAUGHING)
(APPLAUDING)

Alice says AND FINALLY, THE PURSUIT.
ONE RIDER ATTACKS AND THEN IS
CHASED DOWN BY THE VICTIM.

The man says THE WINNER IS SIMPLY THE
BLUE TEAM!

Bill says YES.

Alice says AW.

Bill says VICTORY.

Alice says WELL DONE.
IT WAS A FAIR CONTEST.

Bill says COMMISERATIONS.
(BILL AND ALICE LAUGHING)
(APPLAUDING)

Alice says AND AS A FINAL SEND-OFF TO
THE CROWD, THE FULL TROOP OF 30
ROMAN CAVALRY RIDERS GALLOPS
PAST IN UNISON.
IT'S AN AWE-INSPIRING SIGHT AND
A REMINDER THAT THESE
TOURNAMENTS WERE USED TO
DEMONSTRATE ROMAN POWER TO OUR
ANCIENT ANCESTORS.
SO, BILL, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED
FROM THIS WEEKEND?

Bill says JUST HUGE AMOUNTS.
I MEAN, ONE, JUST ACTUALLY HOW
RELATIVELY EASY SOME OF THE
DRILL IS THAT WE THOUGHT WASN'T.

Alice says YEAH.

Bill says HOW QUICKLY RIDERS CAN PICK
UP SOME OF THAT DRILL.
HOW IMPORTANT THIS TRAINING,
THIS SPECTACLE IS FOR THE
TRAINING OF THE ARMY.
THERE WAS A LOT OF DEBATE.
IS IT JUST A SHOW FOR THE
EMPEROR?
YOU CAN SEE BY GOING THROUGH IT,
IT'S REALLY ABOUT DEVELOPING THE
HORSEMANSHIP OF THE SOLDIERS FOR
BATTLE, FOR CONTACT WITH THE
ENEMY.
AND ALSO, IT DOES GIVE YOU THAT
REAL SENSE, DOESN'T IT, OF THAT
IMPERIAL POWER AND MIGHT AND
MAJESTY PROJECTING THE POWER OF
IMPERIAL ROME.

Alice says SO, THERE'S A LOT OF
PEOPLE STICKING AROUND AFTER THE
SHOW ITSELF AND LEARNING MORE
ABOUT THE ROMAN ERA.
AND WHAT A FANTASTIC WAY TO
ENGAGE A WIDE AUDIENCE WITH THIS
PERIOD IN OUR HISTORY.
AND THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS
THEMSELVES HAVE LEARNED A LOT
FROM THIS EXPERIENCE.
FOR ME, I FOUND IT IMPRESSIVE,
BUT I ALSO FOUND IT QUITE
INTIMIDATING.
THERE WAS THAT POWER OF THE
ROMAN ARMY BROUGHT TO LIFE,
BUT IT'S A SYMBOL OF OPPRESSION
AS WELL.
IT'S A REALLY INTERESTING
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD, I THINK.

Alice says FOR THE RE-ENACTORS,
ARCHAEOLOGISTS, AND AUDIENCE
ALIKE, THIS HAS BEEN A UNIQUE
OPPORTUNITY TO RELIVE SOMETHING
THAT NO ONE HAS SEEN FOR OVER
1,600 YEARS.
THIS RESTAGING OF A ROMAN
TOURNAMENT HAS BEEN A
MAGNIFICENT SPECTACLE.
BUT ACTUALLY, IT'S MORE
THAN THAT.
IT'S ABOUT RESEARCH AS WELL,
BECAUSE IT'S ALLOWED THE
ARCHAEOLOGISTS TO TEST OUT SOME
OF THEIR IDEAS.
AND INFORMING EVERYTHING THAT'S
BEEN ACHIEVED BY THIS PROJECT
HAS BEEN THE TIRELESS WORK OF
HISTORIANS AND ARCHAEOLOGISTS
AT DIGS, MUSEUMS, AND IN THE
ARCHIVES.
EACH NEW CLUE THEY'VE UNEARTHED
HAS HELPED BRING THE ROMAN
CAVALRY BACK TO LIFE AND RETURN
THEM TO THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE AT
THE CENTRE OF THE STORY OF
ROMAN BRITAIN.
BUT IT'S A PROCESS THAT'S NOT
OVER YET.
ACROSS HADRIAN'S WALL AND
BEYOND, NEW DISCOVERIES WILL
CONTINUE TO BUILD OUR KNOWLEDGE
OF THESE FORGOTTEN HORSEMEN.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Presented by Professor Alice Roberts.

Executive producer, Emma Parkins.

Series producer and director, Nick Gilliam-Smith.

Producer and director, James Gray.

A 360 production for BBC.

Logo: BBC Northern Ireland.

Copyright 2017, 360 Production Limited.

Logo: TVF International.

Watch: The Horsemen of Hadrian's Wall