NGRef: NY 613 651
OSMap: OL43, LR87.
Type: Signal-station, Tower
|Stanegate: W (1.25) to Nether Denton
Stanegate: E (1.25) to Throp (Cumbria)
Situated beside the Stanegate Roman military road about ¾-mile SSW of the Birdoswald fort on Hadrian's Wall, the Roman watch-tower or signal station at Mains Rigg was first excavated by F.G. Simpson in 1928 and re-examined by Durham University in 1971-72. The site consists of a stone central tower set upon a rectangular platform and surrounded by a defensive ditch. The platform measures about 41 feet from NE to SW by 36 feet transversely (c.12.5 x 11 m), with an external ditch varying between 1½ to 6½ feet (0.5 to 2.0 m) in depth. The tower measured about 21 feet (6.5m) square with walls over 3'6" (1m) thick, its surviving foundations varying in height between 1'8" and 2'4" (0.5 to 0.7 m). The stone foundations of the tower were back-filled after the 1972 excavation in order to protect the site and nothing remains to be seen nowadays. Although no dateable finds were made, the structure is thought to be a late addition to the Stanegate system, perhaps built during the early years of Hadrian's reign, as a stop-gap measure while the Hadrianic barrier was still in the planning stage.