Brian Lavelle | Scottish writer & sound artist

At the Temple of Mithras


Today: a visit to Brocolitia, the Temple of Mithras, just outside the Roman fort of Carrawburgh on Hadrian’s Wall. Roman soldiers built this place of worship for their Mithraic mystery religion more than 1800 years ago.

It was windswept and muddy, and there was no one else there; but it is such a meaningful place.

This site has held a special resonance for me since my dad first took me there many years ago, probably some time in the early 1980s. Lots of the Roman Britain sites remind me of him and his infectious enthusiasm for those places, but none more than this one. I can’t really explain why. It’s not grand in scale and is tucked away in a small depression south of the fort to the extent that it’s not visible until you walk along a muddy track to get to it, but I find it so enigmatic, a quiet place that feels like a concentrated zone of memories of that quiet man.

I stood awhile and thought of him, the wind howling, the weather creating its own swirling cave of grief and mistaken echoes around me.

#Archaeology #Brocolitia #Hadrian’s Wall #Roman Britain #Temple of Mithras