iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Hadrian's Wall

Listen now 43 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Hadrian's Wall

Duration:
43 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 12 July 2012

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?

With:

Greg Woolf
Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews

David Breeze
Former Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland and Visiting Professor of Archaeology at the University of Durham

Lindsay Allason-Jones
Former Reader in Roman Material Culture at the University of Newcastle

Producer: Victoria Brignell.

  • FURTHER READING

    Lindsay Allason-Jones, ‘Daily Life in Roman Britain’ (Greenwood World Publishing, 2008)

    P. Bidwell (ed.), ‘Understanding Hadrian’s Wall’ (The Arbeia Society, 2008)

    Anthony Birley, ‘Hadrian: The Restless Emperor’ (Routledge, 1997)

    Robin Birley, ‘Vindolanda: A Roman Frontier Fort on Hadrian’s Wall’ (Amberley Publishing, 2009)

    Alan Bowman, ‘Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and Its People’ (British Museum Press, 1994)

    D. J. Breeze, ‘The Frontiers of Imperial Rome’ (Pen & Sword Military, 2011)

    D. J. Breeze and B. Dobson, ‘Hadrian’s Wall’ (Penguin, 2000)

    D. J. Breeze, ‘The Antonine Wall’ (John Donald, 2006)

    Hunter Davies, ‘A Walk Along the Wall: A Journey Along Hadrian’s Wall’ (Frances Lincoln, 2009)

    Alison Ewin, ‘Hadrian’s Wall: A Social and Cultural History’ (University of Lancaster, 2000)

    P. Hill, ‘The Construction of Hadrian’s Wall’ (The History Press, 2006)

    Lawrence Keppie, ‘The Legacy of Rome: Scotland’s Roman Remains’ (John Donald, 2004)

    David Mattingly, ‘An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire 54 BC-AD 409’ (Allen Lane, 2006)

    J. Poulter, ‘The Planning of Roman Roads and Walls in Northern Britain’ (Amberley Publishing, 2010)

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • History archive

    Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

  • Ancient Rome

    Browse the Ancient Rome era within the In Our Time archive.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Free downloads

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.