Revealed: The culturally diverse history of Hadrian's Wall and Britain's first African community

As part of Black History Month, our reporter has been looking into the untold history of Hadrian's Wall, which experts say was the most culturally diverse part of the Roman Empire.

According to a plaque at St Michael's Church at Burgh by Sands, the Roman fort that once stood on the site was the first recorded African settlement in Britain.

The people that guarded the 84-mile-long wall came from places as far as Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco.

Experts believe the reason this under-reported aspect of the wall's history is often passed over is because of who has written most of the literature concerning it.

Dr Andy Birley, chief executive of the Vindolanda Trust, said: "You've got a lot of pasty white men of a certain social class who wrote histories, not necessarily consciously for themselves, but they focused on what was familiar and what was comfortable and so those stories tended to get more prominence than any other."

Mohammed Dhalech, a Cumbrian whose trying to raise the profile of these untold stories, said: "Even if it's late, it's definitely important to recognise the history that exists and recognise the contribution those communities made to protecting these areas."

Some of the 1,800-year-old evidence left by African soldiers can still be seen at the Roman fort at Vindolanda.

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