£2 million lottery funding to celebrate heritage of Roman walls

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Projects celebrating and exploring the heritage of two internationally renowned Roman walls have been granted £2 million of lottery funding.

The money will also help bring communities together along the Antonine Wall in central Scotland and Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.

A £980,600 award will help raise awareness about the 63km Antonine Wall, particularly among young people.

At the wall, replica distance markers based on the Roman originals will be placed at five different sites alongside information about its history.

Antonine Wall
A section of the Antonine Wall (Historic Environment Scotland/PA)

A programme of 30 community-designed projects, such as a Scouts Big Roman Camp Out and a Roman inspired community garden, will take place across the five local authorities the wall passes through.

Emma McMullen, Antonine Wall Heritage Lottery Fund Project Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support our £2.1m Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project over the next three years.

“This will give us the opportunity to work with communities along the length of the wall to better engage them with their Roman heritage, along with creating facilities that will help to promote the Antonine Wall to visitors.

“The funding will also allow us to work with colleagues at Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes to share ideas.”

The project aims to develop resources for schools exploring topics such as Roman cooking and crafts as well as talks, tours and a community-led remake of the 1950s Walk the Wall film.

Now 300 volunteers will be recruited and trained to help co-design projects in their communities, act as tour guides, help with research and raise awareness.

The project is being led by West Dunbartonshire Council in partnership with Glasgow City Council, East Dunbartonshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Falkirk Council and Historic Environment Scotland.

Meanwhile a National Lottery grant of £1.17m will enable experts at Newcastle University to work with community volunteers to help protect, preserve and interpret Hadrian’s Wall.

Some locations are currently at risk from threats such as severe weather, tourism and invasive plant species, including Roman cemeteries and the Vallum earthworks.

As part of the Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP), volunteers from along the wall’s 135km length will be trained in skills such as digital surveying, including terrestrial laser scanning, at various sites to understand more about its condition, as well as conservation and geological work to help prevent further deterioration.

Dr Rob Collins, WallCAP project manager and lecturer in archaeology at Newcastle University, said: “Hadrian’s Wall has been a vital part of our landscape for the past 1900 years.

“Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, we will be able to better understand the position of the Wall in the current working landscape, and ensure the monument will be enjoyed by future generations of local communities and visitors.”

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, what were once built as barriers will now bring communities together to explore and celebrate their shared heritage.”

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