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2019 Rhind Lecture 6: “Hadrian’s Wall today and in the future”

Professor David Breeze presents the sixth and final 2019 Rhind Lecture on Hadrian’s Wall.

“Hadrian’s Wall today and in the future” by Professor David Breeze

An understanding of Hadrian’s Wall has to take into account our own biases as well of those of our forebears and the experiences which led to the development of these views. The importance of maintaining the Wall in its landscape setting is emphasised. The implications of its status as a World Heritage Site and of the creation of the National Trail along its length in 2003 and of tourism generally will be considered against the background of the protection and study of the archaeological resource. Within the framework of modern research strategies, the success of earlier such documents will be reviewed, and the importance of operating within an international framework stressed.

The 2019 Rhind Lectures, entitled “Hadrian’s Wall: A Study in Archaeological Exploration and Interpretation” and presented by Professor David Breeze OBE, BA, PhD, Hon DLitt, FSA, Hon FSA Scot, FRSE, Hon CIfA.  Recorded in the National Museums Scotland auditorium at 3.30pm on 12 May 2019 by Mallard Productions Ltd. Sponsored by AOC Archaeology Group.

The Lectures

Hadrian’s Wall was written about even when it was occupied. The Romans produced souvenirs of the Wall, medieval scribes placed it on maps, antiquarian visitors recorded the remains, scholars from the Renaissance onwards argued about its date and purpose, and early archaeologists uncovered its walls. The age of modern discoveries started in the 1830s and over the succeeding 150 years a very substantial archaeological dataset has been created. The addition of new material, combined with new approaches to archaeological investigation, ensures that interpretations constantly require review.

These Rhind lectures examine the ways that data has been created, and then to move on to examine specific aspects of Hadrian’s Wall in depth, in particular its purpose and operation over time and its effect on the local population. In the final lecture, we look at the Wall today and some aspects of its future.

The Lecturer

Professor David J Breeze OBE, BA, PhD, Hon DLitt, FSA, Hon FSA Scot, FRSE, Hon CIfA was President of the Society from 1987-90. He served as Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland from 1989 to 2005 and as Chairman of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies until 2015. He has excavated on both Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall and published books on both as well as on Roman frontiers generally and on the Roman army.