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THIRTY YEAR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE ANTONINE WALL

A new five year plan for the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site has been launched today, providing a framework for the management, conservation, promotion and interpretation of the Wall from 2014-19.

The Management Plan was widely consulted on during its development and includes many actions requested by local groups, community councils and others.

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The plan initially sets out a 30 year vision for the site which will build upon the significant progress that has been made to protect and promote it since nomination as a World Heritage Site in 2008 . As well as ensuring that the Antonine Wall is suitably managed to safeguard its Outstanding Universal Value, this seeks to establish the Wall as a world class visitor experience and a focus to realise sustainable benefits economically, socially and environmentally for locals and visitors alike.

Location of the Antonine Wall and Hadrian's Wall in Scotland and Northern England : Wiki Commons
Location of the Antonine Wall and Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland and Northern England : Wiki Commons

 

From this vision, a number of shorter term goals for the next five years are drawn out. These include: strengthening local, national and international partnerships; increasing the provision of digital resources, including a new website; improving signage, paths and interpretation and strengthening links between museum collections and physical sites.

The Partners who deliver the Management Plan – Historic Scotland, East Dunbartonshire Council, Falkirk Council, Glasgow City Council, North Lanarkshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Council – have been working jointly to deliver collaborative projects but also individually to ensure the social, cultural and economic potential of the Wall is realised in their local areas.

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The new five-year Plan includes actions to build and expand this partnership working, and to extend it to projects involving Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes.

The 60 kilometre long Antonine Wall became a World Heritage Site in 2008 and joined the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, alongside Hadrian’s Wall (inscribed in 1987) and the German Limes (inscribed in 2005). The Wall stretches from Bo’ness on the River Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. When it was built, in the years following AD 142, it was the most complex frontier ever constructed by the Roman Army.

The Antonine Wall is one of five World Heritage Sites in Scotland along with St Kilda, New Lanark, Heart of Neolithic Orkney, and the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.

Management Plan is available at:

http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/antonine-wall-management-plan-2014-19.pdf

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:

“The Antonine Wall is a site that has international recognition as part of a serial transnational World Heritage Site. This plan will allow valuable opportunities in the areas of learning, tourism and research to be advanced. Strong partnership working around site management and conservation are being developed by the Partners and I look forward to seeing this approach continuing over the next five years.

“The Antonine Wall is enjoyed and appreciated by many individuals and groups, not only within Scotland, but nationally and internationally. The actions and ambitions set out in this Management Plan will help to improve their experiences of, and engagement with, the World Heritage Site for the next five years.

Patricia Weeks, The Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Co-ordinator said:

“This Management Plan has been developed after an extensive period of public consultation and has been structured to ensure that benefits for local, national and international communities continue to be prioritised.

I hope that those organisations, communities and individuals who have contributed to the development of this Plan continue to be involved in the delivery of the objectives and actions outlined in it, ensuring that we preserve and make the most of this unique and truly wonderful site. “

About the Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) and was about 3 metres (10 feet) high and 5 metres (16 feet) wide. Security was bolstered by a deep ditchon the northern side. The barrier was the second of two “great walls” created by the Romans in Northern Britain. Its ruins are less evident than the better knownHadrian’s Wall to the south.

Construction began in 142 AD at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, and took about 12 years to complete.

Pressure from the Caledonians may have led Antoninus to send the empire’s troops further north. The wall was protected by 16 forts with a number of small fortlets between them; troop movement was facilitated by a road linking all the sites known as the Military Way. The soldiers who built the wall commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians in a number of decorative slabs, twenty of which still survive.

Despite this auspicious start the wall was abandoned after only 20 years, and the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian’s Wall. In 208 Emperor Septimius Severus re-established legions at the wall and ordered repairs; this has led to the wall being referred to as the Severan Wall. However, the occupation ended only a few years later, and the wall was never fortified again. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are still visible. Many of these have come under the care of Historic Scotland and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Contributing Source : Historic Scotland

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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