Hadrian's Wall served two functions. The first was as a demarcation line between the Roman province of Britannia and the barbarians to the north. To this end it was more useful as a frontier control system, rather than as a barrier for defence. Its second role was to stop small scale disturbances such as raids. The vallum was constructed to mark the rear of a military zone in which, when the wall was first constructed, no civilian settlements were allowed. The vallum consisted of a ditch with earth mounds on each side, crossings over the ditch were only provided at forts.
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