INCREDIBLE graffiti left by Roman soldiers as they quarried stone for Hadrian’s Wall has been unearthed in Cumbria.
Experts abseiled down a 30ft rock face to find the sandstone inscriptions in Gelt Woods, Cumbria – and found one cheeky soldier’s rude caricature of his commanding officer.
The markings were first discovered in the 18th century, but have slowly faded due to erosion.
A team from Newcastle University’s archaeology department recorded the markings with the latest 3D scanning technology.
Among the inscriptions was a phallus sketched by a trooper to bring good luck.
Another – which experts reckon was scrawled in 207AD – crudely depicts an officer overseeing the project.
Mike Collins, inspector of ancient monuments for Hadrian’s Wall at Historic England, said: “These inscriptions at Gelt Forest are probably the most important on the Hadrian’s Wall frontier.
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“They provide insight into the organisation of the vast construction project that Hadrian’s Wall was, as well as some very human and personal touches, such as the caricature of their commanding officer inscribed by one group of soldiers.”
Ian Haynes, professor of archaeology at Newcastle University, added: “These inscriptions are very vulnerable to further gradual decay.
“This is a great opportunity to record them as they are in 2019, using the best modern technology to safeguard the ability to study them into the future.”
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