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FIRST-YEAR STUDENT HIKES THROUGH HISTORY

When the time came at his Washington, D.C., high school to apply for the Montgomery Raiser fellowship, which allows students to pursue foreign studies, Alex Fossi ’09 saw the perfect opportunity to combine his two greatest interests—history and the outdoors—into one project.

That’s how he was able to spend the summer between his junior and senior years hiking Hadrian’s Wall, on the border between England and Scotland. The 84-mile wall is a mecca for ancient history buffs: It was constructed by Emperor Hadrian in 122 A.D. to mark the northernmost boundary of Roman Britain. “The wall was built out of stone not common to the area at that time,” says Fossi.

Fossi spent 12 days actually hiking the wall and three exploring the history of particular regions. Among the sites he encountered were Carlisle Castle and Carlisle Cathedral in the westernmost area of the wall. Both structures were built in the 11th century, and Carlisle Castle was the longest continuously used military institution in the world, employed as a weapons storehouse through World War II.

“Most of the history dates back to the Roman era, and the 10th and 11th centuries when the Saxons fortified the area,” says Fossi.

Aside from the hike itself, a highlight of Fossi’s trip was the day he spent in London at the start of the trip. “It’s the most international city I’ve ever seen,” he says.

Currently, Fossi has not yet declared his Haverford major but is taking a history class. “I’m keeping my options open,” he reports.

—by Brenna McBride, staff writer

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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