The Emperor's Box
This platform gives a good view back along the road you have walked - on top of the remains of the North Wall - and the rise in it which shows where the East wall heads off South across the field. The North Annexe or vicus lies in the dip of the field towards the river. In front, the hollow is a small military amphitheatre, discovered by Dr Lonie in 1991 and confirmed by Bradford University. Here the picked infantry and cavalry troops of the garrison practised military exercises and held parades and games. The road running down to the three bridges at Leaderfoot, where the Leader joins the Tweed from the North, is Fly-boat Brae, at the foot of which a ferry plied after the Roman bridge came down. The huge field behind the layby and information shelter is the Eastern Annexe, stretching to the railway line and beyond. In the 2nd century the spur roads from Dere Street made this the main entry. It was lined with bars and entertainments, a bazaar, and the big houses of the people who were trying to make their fortune on the frontier. The two trees on the skyline denote the parade ground.
This is reached on the viaduct top level by two stiles along the edge of the East Annexe field. From here in 1991, Dr Bill Lonie saw the vegetation changes on the slope and the saucer shape which made him think 'amphitheatre'. Bradford University confirmed it. See the beautiful views of the Black Hill to the NE, Bemersyde and Scott's View to the East and Eildon North Hill to the SW. This is 'Tripontium', the place of the three bridges - Victorian railway viaduct; 18th century Old Drygrange Bridge; and the A68. The site of the Roman bridge may lie between these last two. The line of trees marching to the river from the South may be Dere Street.
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