Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Well, welcome back. Last week, we looked at how the periods of the third and fourth century saw both conflict and consolidation on the Wall. And this week we’re moving forward in time. We’re looking at life after the Roman wall. That is, of course, a very long period, because it continues right up to the present day. The wall continues to have an impact on those who live alongside it and who study it. What happened, though, in the immediate aftermath of Roman rule remains a particularly challenging question for archaeologists.
Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds It’s a question, for example, that my colleague Tony Wilmott and I are working on as we excavate at Maryport, where we found massive timber structures built out of Roman material in the twilight years of Roman Britain. And it’s also a question that Tony himself first threw into wider public attention when he made an extraordinary discovery at Birdoswald. Here he found Roman granaries had been transformed into early mediaeval halls– an example of continuity and change. Our friend Rob Collins has played a key role in taking this subject area forward, and he’ll be introducing us this week to some of the evidence from the period.
Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds In particular, we’ll be looking at a fascinating and rather macabre case from South Shields– the remains of a double murder committed some time in the immediate aftermath of Roman rule. But we’ll also try to bring the Wall’s extended post-Roman history into focus. We’ll revisit Chesters to study the legacy of Clayton, one of the great Wall antiquarians. And we’ll look once more at our own collections in the Great North Museum, themselves founded by and held by the Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. And we’ll also ask questions about the Wall’s future, too. Now a World Heritage site, Hadrian’s Wall’s future might seem assured. But in reality, there remains much to do. How can we continue to care about it?
Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds What do we need to know about it? What great questions remain unanswered?
Introduction to the final week: the ending of the Wall (and afterwards...)
Welcome to the final week. This week we will be looking at three broad themes, and then wrapping up the course with a final test and discussion.
Our first theme concerns the way that archaeology is now offering fascinating insights into life on Hadrian’s Wall following the collapse of Roman authority. Ian begins by noting another aspect of his work with Tony Wilmott at Maryport. In week 4 we looked at the evidence from Maryport for temples of the high imperial period. The Maryport project team have also discovered evidence for a remarkable building on the site (possibly an early church) with re-used Roman altars. It appears to have been built in the immediate aftermath of Roman rule. We touch on this fascinating discovery before looking at some of the remarkable evidence from Birdoswald and Vindolanda, where there is clear evidence for the reuse of fort spaces in the late Roman and early medieval period.
Having introduced evidence for early medieval activity on the Wall we move the clock forward to consider the way in which Antiquarians began investigating its story. We see something of their legacy in visits to two major collections of antiquarian material.
Bringing the story up to date we consider the Wall in the modern landscape and the particular challenges associated with its future. How should we research it, care for it, present it? And we would like your views on this too, so in the concluding part of this week we also ask about the future of your Wall. In this we suggest some ways in which you might wish to continue to develop your interest in and knowledge of the Wall and its people.
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