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This content is taken from the Newcastle University's online course, Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Welcome. We’ve now seen something of the building and formative years of Hadrian’s Wall. But the world was changing, and the British frontier was to change too. 80 years after Hadrian’s Wall was constructed, a new emperor and a new Roman army came to Britain to campaign in the North. The visit of Septimius Severus marks the beginning of a new phase of conflict and consolidation for people in the Wall Zone. In this week’s session, my colleague, Rob Collins, author of an important new book on the later history of Hadrian’s Wall, and I will be studying the third and fourth centuries with you.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds We’ll look at how the Wall was threatened as it had never been threatened before, but we’ll also discuss how different life for ordinary people in the Wall Zone became during this time. I like to think of Newcastle as a learning community, where we’re all very actively involved shoulder-to-shoulder in new research into archaeology. And behind me you can see some of my colleagues, some of our students here, who are working on the evidence for diet in the Roman period. Animal bones, pottery sherds, all of these things come together to build a bigger picture of the dining, eating experience in Roman Britain.

Skip to 1 minute and 38 seconds In the finale to this week’s session, you’ll see some of our students participating in one of their biggest practical seminars of the year, the dining seminar. And you’ll have an opportunity to participate in some of the discussion, some of the intrigue, and some of the drama of a recreated dining seminar based on events following the Barbarian Conspiracy of AD 367.

Introduction to 'Conflict and Consolidation: The Wall in the 3rd and 4th centuries'

There is so much more to the story of the Roman Wall and its people to uncover.

We have already seen something of the Wall in the second century AD, the decades that saw its construction, initial abandonment for the Antonine Wall, and reinstatement.

But the third and fourth centuries are every bit as fascinating, even if they are discussed much less often. In this period too we see major imperial campaigns, high drama, conflict and consolidation – and a Wall population every bit as diverse and intriguing as before.

In this video, Ian sketches some of the activities we will be tackling this week. He notes the Roman campaigns of the early 3rd Century and also introduces the so called ‘Barbarian Conspiracy’ of the 4th Century. Behind Ian you can see students working on material related to the study of Roman foodways. Some are studying animal bones. Others are at work quantifying pottery using ‘rim charts’ specially designed to help both calculate the original size of vessels from the sherds, and also to provide quantification for pottery finds by EVE (estimated vessel equivalent) calculations. Detailed study of material such as this is vital to our understanding of how people lived in the changing world of the frontier.

We hope you will enjoy the very different style of visualisation exercises we are employing this week when we visit a Roman banquet with a mystery to solve, and that you will find the journey through this time of conflict and consolidation every bit as interesting as the better known story of the Wall’s construction.

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This video is from the free online course:

Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

Newcastle University

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