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Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Frontier

Episode 3 of 4

Ben Robinson flies over Hadrian's Wall to reveal a landscape of hundreds of sites of human occupation suggesting the area was richly populated.

Archaeologist Ben Robinson flies over Hadrian's Wall to reveal a new view of its history. The first full aerial survey of Hadrian's Wall has helped uncover new evidence about the people who once lived there. Carried out over the last few years by English Heritage, it is allowing archaeologists to reinterpret the wall. Across the whole landscape hundreds of sites of human occupation have been discovered, showing that people were living here in considerable numbers. Their discoveries are suggesting that far from being a barren military landscape, the whole area was richly populated before during and after the wall was built. There is also exciting new evidence that the Romans were here earlier than previously thought.

30 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01

    Clint Mansell

    Tree of Life 

  • 00:02

    Lamb

    Gorecki

  • 00:08

    Massive Attack

    Inertia Creeps

  • 00:10

    Air

    Modular Mix

  • 00:14

    Rachel Unthank & The Winterset

    Felton Lonnin

  • 00:16

    The Cinematic Orchestra

    To Build A Home

  • 00:19

    The Cinematic Orchestra

    That Home

  • 00:20

    Clint Mansell

    Stay With Me 

Hadrian's Wall - life on the frontier

Hadrian's Wall - life on the frontier

Ben Robinson and the TV team were rewarded with some stunning views of Hadrian’s Wall, its forts and the surrounding landscape from the air.

Their Cessna plane had been being grounded by storms for several days but a break in the weather enabled them to take off and capture some fascinating views of the area.

Native settlements, field systems, temporary Roman camps, add richness and time-depth to an area which is often thought of as Hadrian’s alone.

Many of these ancient sites have been levelled and cannot be seen on the ground at all so an aerial perspective gave the team were able to get a much clearer view from the air.

The area around Hadrian’s Wall has been carefully mapped from the air by English Heritage, but private research is also adding much to the compelling story of the Roman Empire’s northern frontier.

New technology is also playing its role in discovering new archaeological sites which shed fresh light on the wider area around Hadrian’s Wall.

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Ben Robinson
Series Editor Diana Hare
Producer Andy Smythe

Broadcasts

Presenter's blog post: "Our knowledge is being transformed by the aerial view"

Presenter's blog post: "Our knowledge is being transformed by the aerial view"

Read Ben Robinson's post on the BBC Love TV Blog.