News: The Antonine Way
World Heritage Committee to meet in Quebec to inscribe new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List when it meets for its 32nd session in Québec, Canada, from 2 to 10 July.
During this year’s session, hosted by Canada to coincide with the 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of Québec City, 41 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention will present properties for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Among them are five countries that have no sites inscribed on the List: Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu.
Scots aim to mark the final frontier
SCOTLAND’S attempt to have the country’s largest relic of the Roman invasion recognised on equal terms with the great pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China was launched yesterday.
Frank McAveety, the minister for tourism, culture and sport, met European experts in an attempt to win World Heritage status for the Antonine Wall.
Built to keep Scots tribes out of the northern fringes of Rome’s vast empire, the 37-mile-long Antonine Wall will officially be ranked as one of the most historically important sites in the world - if the bid is approved.
Stretching from Bo’ness on the River Forth to Old Kirkpatrick on the Clyde, the wall remains one of most significant structures of one of the most powerful and vast empires the world has ever seen.
The bid is being made in conjunction with other countries which have similar Roman frontier sites.
Mr McAveety, who hosted a reception for the delegates arguing the case for the historic barrier, wished the team luck in what will be the first bid to involve more than one country.
He said: "If this bid succeeds, the Antonine Wall will join the World Heritage site designation for Hadrian’s Wall. Successful bids from Austria, Germany and Slovakia will see their sections of the frontier added to the designation, emphasising our shared history. I am particularly pleased that we are working closely with our European counterparts to make this trans-European bid a success."
Scotland already has four World Heritage Sites, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, the St Kilda Archipelago, Edinburgh Old and New Towns and New Lanark mill town, each of which is hugely important to Scotland on both an economic and a cultural level.
The addition of the Antonine Wall would represent a feather in the cap for Scottish tourism.
The 2,000-year-old wall, named after Antonius Pius, the emperor at the time, was constructed in AD142 under the watchful eye of the newly appointed governor of Britain, Lollius Urbicus.
Unlike the stone-built Hadrian’s Wall further south, the Antonine Wall was a rampart of soil faced with turf resting on a stone foundation. It originally stood 12ft high and was protected on the north side by a V-shaped ditch 40ft wide and 12ft deep.
South of the wall ran a cobbled road - the "Military Way" - which linked a network of forts at two-mile intervals that acted as barracks for the troops who garrisoned the frontier.
Despite its size, the wall was occupied for only one generation and was abandoned soon after AD160.
Substantial lengths of the remarkable monument can still be seen at various sites today. Perhaps the best example exists at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, the remnants of a fort with ramparts 20ft thick, which would probably have provided accommodation for 500 men.
Ron Greer, the secretary of the Antonine Guard, a Roman living-history group, said: "This application has been a long time coming, and we welcome it very much, but we do have serious reservations about the present condition of the wall.
"This relic happens to be Scotland’s largest single piece of physical archaeology.
"Its treatment in the past, with one or two exceptions, has been little short of an utter disgrace."
Dr David Breeze, the chief inspector of ancient monuments for Historic Scotland, said: "The Antonine Wall is the second-best surviving frontier of the Roman Empire, so there is a real reason to acknowledge its importance.
"It was one of only three linear barriers in the empire, which is remarkable when you consider the frontiers ran for some 5,000km. In helping us understand Roman frontiers and how they worked, it is a very important monument."
It is estimated that the bid for World Heritage status will take two years to prepare, involving consultation with local landowners and interest groups.
This article appears in The Scotsman at http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=343672004 and written by JAMES REYNOLDS
World Heritage Status granted to Antonine Wall
The Antonine Wall – once the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire - was last night (Mon, July 7) awarded World Heritage Site status. The decision was made by UN cultural body UNESCO at a meeting in Canada.
The announcement was part of a larger, international effort to see Roman frontiers across Europe recognised. A Scottish bid was put forward by Historic Scotland with the backing of both the Scottish and UK Governments.
The Wall - built around AD 142 - spans central Scotland from Bo’ness on the Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde. It now joins a select group of globally-important structures like the Great Wall of China, New Lanark and Stonehenge.
Supporters believe World Heritage Site status for the Antonine Wall will bring more tourists to museums and Roman sites across central Scotland.
Some of the best-preserved remains of the Wall run across the Falkirk Council area from Roughcastle, near Bonnybridge in the west, to Kinneil at Bo’ness in the east.
“Gaining World Heritage Site status is a major achievement – and focuses international attention on our area,” said Bo'ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s Convener of Environment and Heritage.
“There’s no doubt the recognition by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will attract more tourists to the area, keen to find out more about our Roman history which can only help our local economy, particularly hotels, restaurants and tourist facilities.
“We only have to look at northern England and see how Hadrian’s Wall has helped to boost the profile and fortunes of that area. Hopefully, the Antonine Wall will do the same for central Scotland.”
The Wall was built by the Emperor Antoninus Pius to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule. Unlike the stone-built Hadrian's Wall, the Antonine Wall consisted of a rampart of soil, faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It stood 12 feet high, and was protected on the north side by a wide, deep V-shaped ditch. It was abandoned around AD 160, when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall.
Today, many parts of the Antonine Wall lie under towns and settlements, built long after the Romans departed Scotland. However, evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.
Councillor Mahoney said:” The Falkirk area is fortunate in having a number of highly visible parts of the Antonine Wall. As well as the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil, Bo’ness, and a fort at Roughcastle, near Bonnybridge, the wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods; Watling Lodge, Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk; and Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge. We also have free exhibitions on the Romans in our museums, Callendar House, Falkirk, and Kinneil in Bo’ness.
“Of course, it’s also important that we work with partners to preserve and look after the parts of the Antonine Wall which remain. Over hundreds of years parts of the wall have disappeared. It’s now our responsibility to look after this very important structure and preserve this important piece of world history for future generations. After all, this isn’t just any Roman artefact – it’s a World Heritage Site . . . and we’re delighted to have that status.”
• Falkirk Council has published a free guide to walks along the Wall and has also set up web pages to help people find out more about the Roman frontier in central Scotland www.falkirkonline.net/antoninewall
More on the World Heritage Site bid at
Issued by: Barbara Suttar
Tel: 01324 506057
Culture Minister David Lammy unveils the UK's next three nominations for world heritage status.
The Antonine Wall, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the Twin Monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow have been chosen as the UK's next three nominations to become World Heritage Sites, Culture Minister David Lammy announced today.
This means that, if accepted by UNESCO, the three sites will join the Tower of London, Blenheim Palace and Stonehenge on the list of 27 UK World Heritage Sites.
The Antonine Wall was built by the Roman army on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius following the successful re-conquest of southern Scotland in A.D. 142.
For a generation from 142AD to about 165AD the Antonine Wall was the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire.
The Antonine Wall was added to the UK Tentative List this year and would form an extension to the Frontiers of the Roman Empire Transnational World Heritage Site presently consisting of Hadrian’s Wall and the Upper Raetian German Limes.
The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is one of the world’s most renowned and spectacular achievements of waterways engineering. Built as part of the improvement of transport to provide the arteries of industrialisation, the structure was a pioneer of cast iron construction and was the highest canal aqueduct ever built.
As such, it is one of the heroic monuments which symbolise the world’s first Industrial Revolution and its transformation of technology.
The twin Anglo-Saxon monastery at Wearmouth and Jarrow - 'one monastery in two places' - was the creation of one man, Benedict Biscop, who travelled abroad extensively (to Rome and elsewhere) from in the 650s on and had returned determined to build a monastery 'in the Roman manner'.
The first historian of the English people, Bede, was a member of the community from the age of seven, having been entrusted to Benedict Biscop c. 680.
Culture Minister, David Lammy, said: “Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape has just been successfully inscribed to become the 27th UK World Heritage Site.
Earlier this year we put forward Darwin at Downe as the UK’s 2006 nomination for consideration in 2007. We now need to turn our attention to the running order of nominations for 2007 and beyond.
“I am extremely pleased with the nominations for 2007 to 2009. The Antonine Wall will be an important addition to the existing Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage site.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is world known and an impressive example of waterways engineering in the late 18th century. And the twin Anglo Saxon monastery at Wearmouth and Jarrow are a historic legacy of Benedict Biscop's vision in the seventh century which produced Bede, the greatest scholar of his day, who shaped European thought."
Sir Neil Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage, said: “The nomination for Wearmouth-Jarrow recognises the unique international contribution the site and its greatest inhabitant, the Anglo-Saxon scholar Bede, made to the development of European learning and culture.
The inscription of the Antonine Wall will complement the recent joining of the Upper German-Raetian Limes and Hadrian's Wall to form the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site and will strengthen international cooperation on conservation."
Patricia Ferguson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, said: “The Antonine Wall is an outstanding international archaeological treasure. This touch of Roman civilisation in central Scotland is a reminder of the many European links our country has and this bid for World Heritage Site status is widely supported, not just in Scotland and the UK, but by other countries that share this heritage.
"Scotland already boasts three cultural heritage sites - The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, The Heart of Neolithic Orkney and New Lanark - and St Kilda, which is one of only a handful of World Heritage Sites recognised for both its cultural and natural importance.
The Antonine Wall would be a worthy addition." Alun Pugh, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport, said: "I very much welcome the nomination of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as a World Heritage Site. We have a wonderful built historic environment in Wales and, having been over the Aqueduct both on foot and by boat, I can safely say that the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a jewel in the crown.
The Aqueduct represents a great historical resource for Wrexham and North East Wales and gaining World Heritage Status would be of great value to the local community as well as a real coup for the tourism profile of the area."
The nomination documents for the three nominations, which formally outline the case for its inscription as a World Heritage Site, are being prepared.
These nominations, together with those from other countries, will be submitted to UNESCO in February 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Over the following 18 months, after submission to UNESCO, the nomination will be assessed by expert advisers to the World Heritage Committee. Final decisions will be made by the World Heritage Committee at its annual meeting in the following summer.
The UK’s World Heritage Sites are currently:
This article appears on http://www.davidlammy.co.uk/da/44574
Date With Destiny
WORLD HISTORY: Louie Pastore is campaigning to get the Roman fort on Lurg Moor put on a list of the world’s top historical visitor attractions.
Inverclyde’s Roman heritage could be joining the Great Wall of China and Egypt’s pyramids on a prestigious list of the world’s top historical visitor attractions, according to Scotland’s Culture Minister.
A Roman fort at Lurg Moor, above Greenock, was part of the Antonine Wall and served as a look-out point.
This story appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on Fri, 17 Nov, 2006
Tour de force
A GOUROCK computer whizz has used his skills to immortalise Inverclyde's 2,000-year-old Roman heritage.
Louie Pastore, a computer animation lecturer at James Watt College, has created a virtual tour of a spot that marked the northern edge of the Roman Empire around the year 142 AD.
Louie, who has previously lent his talents to Channel 4's Time Team Big Roman Dig TV programme, says the people of Inverclyde should be campaigning to have the Roman remains recognised as a World Heritage Site.
This story appeared in the Greenock Telegraph on Tue, 24 Oct, 2006