Archaeologists from Britain’s Newcastle University and Historic England are working to record some unique inscriptions carved into the walls of an ancient quarry near Hadrian’s Wall. The quarry provided the stone for the famous Roman Wall, which served as a defensive fortification in the then Roman province of Britannia. The wall was built over the course of six years, starting in 122 AD, during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire. It was designed to keep the Scottish Picts from entering the area.
The sandstone inscriptions offer a glimpse into the lives of the Roman soldiers who built the 73-mile long, 10-foot wide, nearly 20-foot high fortification. The engravings include a caricature of an officer and a large penis, or phallus, which stood for good luck in Roman culture, and have been dated to 207 AD, when Hadrian’s Wall was being renovated.
Markings were first discovered in the area in the 18th century, and the engravings have been degraded in recent years as the soft sandstone has eroded, leaving archaeologists scrambling to record all of the inscriptions before they are lost forever.
Experts say the biggest take away from the find is that the ancient Romans placed graffiti on walls just like boys and men still do today, including references to authority figures and large pricks with balls hanging down. They say they are now intensifying their search for “There was a young girl from Nantucket…” and that they think they’ve found the beginnings of “What do you get when you cross a donkey with an onion? A piece of ass that will make you cry.”
(Experts are baffled, however, as to why the Romans spent so much time and effort building the fortification, since we know that walls don't work)
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