The Antonine Wall was constructed from around AD142 and extends 37 miles from Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire in the west to Carriden, Falkirk in the east. It is Scotland’s largest and most important Roman monument.
The Antonine Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site (alongside Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes) in 2008. It runs through 5 Council areas in central Scotland (West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk with both urban and rural sections.
The Wall is just one small part of the extensive system of frontiers across the edges of the former Roman empire. At its greatest extent, its frontiers stretched for more then 5,000km across three continents. Each of the military frontiers had the same job: to define the limits of the Roman Empire, but they were not all alike. Different structures were adopted in different areas. In some places artificial boundaries such as walls were built while elsewhere the Romans made use of natural boundaries such as seas or rivers.
Despite being a very accessible Roman monument with ample opportunity for interpretation and involvement, research undertaken in the run up to this project being formulated identified that local awareness of the Antonine Wall was limited in communities without an easily identifiable site and that generally, only those with an interest in heritage were engaging with the Wall.
Rediscovering the Antonine Wall is the first pan Antonine Wall project designed to increase awareness and understanding of, and engagement with the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site (FREWHS). A Steering Group had been formed in 2008, comprising Historic Environment Scotland (HES), West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk Councils, when nomination went forward for World Heritage Site status. In response to the more recently identified lack of awareness and understanding amongst many of the local communities, the Steering Group’s remit changed to encompass this project. The scope of the project originates from a workshop held in Autumn 2015 attended by those with an interest in enhancing the appropriate use and impact of the Antonine Wall. This workshop was called to ensure that visitor and community projects were developed in a coordinated manner across the partnership to as far as possible create a cohesive visitor experience. This led to the identification of shared priorities and outline agreement as to the scope of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project that would provide investment and activity in each of the five local authorities within which the Antonine Wall is located.
In response to extensive consultation with communities and stakeholders, and in a bid to create both community and visitor benefits, the partners have devised the following programme of project elements:
- Installation of five replica Roman distance slabs;
- Creation of five Roman themed play facilities;
- A series of community led engagement projects;
- Reshooting of a 1960s film charting the route of the Wall;
- Creation of a 21st Century Legion volunteer workforce;
- Outreach programme taking themes and stories related to the Wall to hub museums;
- Creation of school resource packs.