Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Antonine Wall gains World Heritage status

Antonine Wall near Bar Hill Roman Fort, Twechar © Andrew Barclay

Antonine Wall near Bar Hill Roman Fort, Twechar © Andrew Barclay

Although I’m really not an ancient historian – I don’t mind admitting that my real interest in any sort of history arises from a hope that it will reveal some sort of technical or engineering related aspect – that doesn’t mean I ignore the older the elder statesmen of the subject, and one of the things that’s always left me slightly puzzled, but lacking the motivation (or just deep interest) to dig into the details, is why Hadrian’s Wall gets all the publicity and attention, while the Antonine Wall, which stretched some 37 miles across Scotland’s central belt, is all but forgotten.

I suppose it’s just a poor relative, never built to the same standard, with a greater amount comprising earth banking rather than stone, and abandoned in favour of its counterpart to the south, it could nonetheless have been the border with the Roman Empire, but it seems they could never quite manage to conquer the Caledonians, so Hadrian’s Wall became the more famous and established boundary, and gave the Romans somewhere to run and hide behind retreat to.

There’s not that much of it left, although most of those remains are marked on maps and can be found without too much trouble. It runs from the Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east.

The Antonine Wall finally has joined other sites included in the World Heritage List on July 7, 2008.

“It is now hoped the World Heritage Status will bring with it a tourism renaissance to museums and Roman sites in the area.”

That quote from the news item is a bit sad, because it could be taken to mean that the real joy of those concerned is that they’re really just happy to be bringing tourists into the area, complete with their wallets and purses, rather than whatever safeguards the World Heritage status gives to the remains of the wall.

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July 9, 2008 - Posted by | Civilian | , ,

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