Hadrian’s Wall

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Hadrian’s Wall, the largest Roman structure and one of the most important archaeological monuments in Britain. Stretching for eighty miles from the mouth of the River Tyne to the Solway Firth and classified today as a World Heritage Site, it has been a source of fascination ever since it came into existence. It was built in about 122 AD by the Emperor Hadrian, and a substantial part of it still survives today. Although its construction must have entailed huge cost and labour, the Romans abandoned it within twenty years, deciding to build the Antonine Wall further north instead. Even after more than a century of excavations, many mysteries still surround Hadrian’s Wall, including its exact purpose. Did it have a meaningful defensive role or was it mainly a powerful emperor’s vanity project?

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  • Greg Woolf 8 episodes
    Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews
  • David Breeze No other episodes
    Former Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland and Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham
  • Lindsay Allason-Jones No other episodes
    Former Reader in Roman Material Culture at the University of Newcastle

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Programme ID: b01kkr42

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kkr42

Auto-category: 930.1 (Ancient history of Europe)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 117 AD, the Roman Emperor Trajan died and was succeeded by his adopted son Hadrian.