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Maryport
Senhouse Museum
27th April 2002

Taking a trip to Maryport on the west coast of Britain was a good opportunity to see the site of a Roman fort and the Senhouse Museum.
The site of the Roman fort of Alauna was chosen to guard the western flank of Hadrian's Wall against any barbarian raiders in Scotland who might choose a seabourne route into the Roman province of Britannia. It was part of a system guarding the coastline which extended with watchtowers all the way from the western end of Hadrian's Wall along the coastline of what is now England's county of Cumbria.

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High a top the steep coast line just north of Maryport harbour one finds the Senhouse Museum. It's housed in the building of an old naval battery.
Inside is a nice collection of items built up by the Senhouse family, who once owned the land and who are seen as pioneers in collecting ancient artifacts, having done so centuries before modern archaeology ever got off the ground.
Among the displays, one exhibit is a recreated shrine of standards, illustrating the way military standards would be kept within an army camp.
But perhaps the most extraordinary exhibits are the sacrifical altars, a whole horde of which was found on the site of the Roman fort. Some of them are so exceptionally well preserved, they look almost brand new.
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tower.jpg - 28359 Bytes Outside the museum building stands this reconstructed Roman watchtower. You can go inside and climb the circular staircase up onto the two platforms and take in the views.

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Regarding the fort itself, however, this is the site. Nothing of the fortress remains. Remarkable, since accounts point out that the wealthy patron family even paid labourers to clean the stone remains in days gone by. However, the lure of easy building material must haved proved too much as time passed.

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