31. January 2016 · Comments Off on Waking Up The Romans Of Hardknott Fort · Categories: Uncategorised · Tags: , , ,

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I’ve been aware of this article for some time now http://www.philica.com/display_article.php?article_id=442, written by Amelia Sparavigna who has suggested that Roman forts were built so that the rising and setting sun face into the forts. Although it’s an interesting thought, unfortunately I don’t think the evidence given proves Sparavigna’s theory. The example she gives, is Hardknott fort in Cumbria, a site I know extremely well, and one which doesn’t fit the theory she’s putting forward. I can’t comment on the other examples she gives, but below I put forward an antithesis to her argument regarding Hardknott.

Hardknott fort was built around 120-138AD, so I’ve used 120 as the date for my calculations. The original author has used the spot outside the front of the principia, where the via principia and via praetoria meet, which I have also done. 

In the images, the orange semi circle is the route of the sun, the orange radius is the view of the sunrise from the central marker, and the red one is the point at which sunset can be seen.

The first image is from the original paper (below). It appears that her calculations are based on the solar calendar from 2014 – see the next images, although even those don’t match precisely with the gates for sunrise/sunset.

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The next image is from 21 June 120 solstice. Sunrise would be seen just to the right of the porta principalis sinistra, if the gate tower wasn’t in the way, and again with sunset, it can be seen from the fort, but hits the walls rather than the gates.

21 June 120

Next image is from 21 December 120, mid winter solstice. The sun rises almost facing the easter tower of the fort, but because of the hills can’t be seen until it’s almost at the gate. At the end of the day it vanishes just as it’s getting the porta principalis dextra.

21 Dec 120

The final two images are from 2014, showing the lines of the solstice sunrise and sunset, showing that Sparavigna’s calculations are incorrect and based on the sunrise/sunset today, rather than that 2,000 years ago.

21 Jun 2014


21 Dec 2014

So in conclusion, in relation to Hardknott fort the paper gets the basic methodology wrong, leading to inaccurate conclusions.