The Antonine Wall at Rough Castle

One of the most surprising Roman monuments is the ‘turf’ Antonine Wall that stretches effectively from the Firth of Forth to the Clyde. One of the best preserved sections is at the Roman fort of Rough Castle (near Falkirk). As you look northwards you get a sense of the edge of empire (though, of course, the network of Roman forts stretches northwards).

Rome’s Frontier Begins Here


Segedunum Roman Fort

How do you engage with archaeological heritage in a post-industrial setting? Hadrian’s Wall must rank as one of the premier Roman sites in the UK but the east end lies under Wallsend. The Segedunum project has this fantastic viewing tower overlooking the site with a banner that reads, ‘Where Rome’s great frontier begins’. This, of course, is not just Walls-end but Walls-beginning, especially for those walking from the Tyne to the Solway Firth. The tower itself reminds us of the shipbuilding heritage of the Tyne with clear views up and down the river, explaining the strategic location of the fort.

Currently Reading: Theatres Magazine

The latest edition of the Theatres Trust magazine focuses on maintaining and modernising historic theatres. It includes a fascinating account of the construction of the historically accurate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is the follow on stage from the reconstruction of Globe Theatre.


Day of Archaeology #dayofarch

This year’s Day of Archaeology #dayofarch has had plenty of interesting articles to read, showing just what a diverse subject archaeology can be. As I was working on some heritage-related issues it gave me a chance to blog about it.

Demographic Change Threatens Heritage

During the late 1980’s, 1990s’ and early 2000’s many heritage organisations became very reliant upon a wave of eager volunteers who had taken early retirement. Indeed, it can be argued that the rapid expansion of local heritage groups, specialist collections and museums which has taken place over the last thirty years would probably not have occurred without this body of experienced but still relatively young and active volunteers. As this “baby boom” wave passes and the age of retirement rises rapidly towards 70 plus the number of younger retirees is dropping.

UCS Heritage Futures is conducting research on the impact of this major social and demographic trend and it is obvious that it has serious consequences for the future of many heritage organisations across the UK.  

These issues were the subject of recent edition of BBC Radio 4’s excellent “Making History” programme which featured Dr Geraint Coles from UCS Heritage Futures talking about recent work and current trends. If you had the misfortune to miss this broadcast you can listen again at BBC iplayer radio at