Antonine Wall

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Excavating the CA archive: cover photos from the first 100 issues

In my column on the ‘great excavation’ of Shapwick (CA 345), I included one of my all-time favourite Current Archaeology cover photos, that of CA 151 (February 1997), where a then broken-legged Mick Aston (injured tripping over a holy well!) is shown on site in Shapwick along with some curious local cattle. Over the years, CA has featured some memorable cover photos, and in my column in CA 321 (December 2016), I picked some of my favourites from the first hundred issues of CA between 1967 and 1986. I will pick up this ‘cover stories’ thread again over the next few columns, commencing here with some more of my favourites from the first hundred issues, and the stories behind them.

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Connecting the dots at Kinneil House

Kinneil House in Bo’ness, just outside Falkirk, is not only a striking 16th- to 17th-century structure, once the principal seat of the wealthy Hamilton family: its estate preserves a rich historic landscape that is also home to a stretch of the Antonine Wall and the only visible example of an Antonine Wall fortlet, as well as the workshop where James Watt perfected the steam engine.

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Current Archaeology 340

In the recent hot weather, the trees that line many of our urban streets offer welcome shade – but when these leafy avenues were first introduced to Britain they were highly controversial. We trace the progress and pitfalls of this movement from its 19th-century roots to the present day. Greenery was also a key feature […]

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Reading the painting on the wall

Last month, we reported in ‘News’ on the recent LiDAR work done to accurately measure the length of the Antonine Wall. Here, we highlight further groundbreaking research being carried out to uncover the history of this magnificent monument. Dr Louisa Campbell from the University of Glasgow has used X-ray and laser technology to analyse the remnants of the Wall as part of the Historic Environment Scotland-funded project, Paints and Pigments in the Past.

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Current Archaeology 339

It is always a joy and a privilege to visit excavations on behalf of CA, but I seldom get to see a dig on the scale of the project currently under way beside the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. There, major road improvement works are allowing an entire historic landscape to be explored in minute […]

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Meticulous metric survey of the Antonine Wall

A detailed LiDAR survey of the Antonine Wall – the Roman military structure that ran east–west between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde (see CA 215 and 289) – was recently carried out in a collaborative research project between Canterbury Christ Church University and Historic Environment Scotland.

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Hard or soft borders? The Roman experience in Britain

What were Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall for, and how did they influence everyday life in their shadow? As questions about modern borders continue to make the headlines, Matthew Symonds investigates Rome’s land frontiers in Britain. Borders are big news at the moment. We all know that a ‘great wall’ is planned along the US […]

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Current Archaeology 326

What are borders for? It is a question that has recently gone mainstream. Debate about ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ borders finds a parallel in attempts to determine whether Roman borders blocked or simply regulated movement. In this regard, the true nature of Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall remains a mystery. As the modern world is reminding us, though, the nature […]

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Current Archaeology 320

Glastonbury has a knack of attracting stories. It is a place where legends of a once and future king and feet in ancient time provide a beguiling backdrop to remarkable archaeological remains. The ruins of Glastonbury Abbey enticed a succession of investigators in the 20th century, but all of them left their endeavours incompletely published. […]

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Book Review: Bearsden – A Roman Fort on the Antonine Wall

Bearsden: A Roman fort on the Antonine Wall David J Breeze Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, £30.00 ISBN 978-1908332080 Bearsden presents a challenge to anyone who believes that Roman forts are much of a muchness. This military base once formed part of a cordon of forts strung out along the length of the Antonine Wall, a frontier system […]