Hadrians wall was built as a barrier to control the Northen regions of what is now known as Scotland. In order for the great barrier to work effectively the Romans built forts, milecastles and turrets from east to west to constantly monitor the goings on and adequately protect themselves from the barbarian tribes.
Each milcastle had 2 associated turrets spaced 1/3 of a Roman Mile (approximately 495 meters) between each one. Turrets were numbered after the Milecastle located to the east of the turret. The nearest turret to the milecastle is suffixed by 'A', and the other turret by 'B'. For example, travelling west from Milecastle 64, the first Turret encountered would be Turret 64A, and the second would be Turret 64B.
Turrets were made from mortared stone and originally had clay floors which were underwent multiple resurfacing and were often replaces with stone or flagstones. There was a door on the south of the turret but little else is known about the structure of a turret as only the lower corse currently exists and there is no definitive descriptions of one. We can however presume that a turret was approximately 9 metres (30ft) in height, this was more than in the capabilites of Roman engineers and it is thought that turrets were used as observation posts so decent height would be a must. as they would need to give a good view over the countryside.
It is clear that the structures also provided temporary accommodation for soldiers manning them however there is no evidence that they slept here or and no remains of ovens have ever been discovered, however despite the lack of an oven (like those found in milecastles), it is clear from finds including quernstones, mixing bowls, cooking pots, jars and amphorae, that the soldiers cooked and ate there. Looking at the size of a turret and the fact it would need to be maned 24 hours a day it is presumed that 4 to 6 soldiers would be stationed here at any one time, understandably, gaming boards and counters are regularly found.
The remains of turrets can be found all the way along the wall and a reconstruction (see below) can be found at the Roman Vindolanda. Pay them a visit to find out more!