Walking the Antonine Wall: Discovering Rome's Scottish Frontier with Alan Montgomery

Walking the Antonine Wall: Discovering Rome's Scottish Frontier with Alan Montgomery


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Join a local historian for a (virtual) walk along the Roman Wall in Scotland, a 40-mile long journey through more than 2000 years of Scottish history. The Antonine Wall is one of Britain’s most important historical monuments, but also one of the least understood. In this interactive learning journey, we will examine the many elements of this fascinating wall as we deepen our understanding of its history, archaeology, and legacy.

The Antonine Wall, an imposing fortified frontier, was built around 142AD across the narrowest part of the British mainland, marking the subjugation of the lands which now equate to southern Scotland and demonstrating the military might of the new emperor, Antoninus Pius. Comprising a turf rampart, deep ditch, and military road linking a series of forts, the Wall briefly represented the northern edge of the Roman Empire. Then, for reasons which remain unclear, it was abandoned after only a few years as the legions retreated southwards. In this interactive learning journey, we will examine the many elements of this fascinating wall as we deepen our understanding of its history, archaeology, and impact today.

But this was not the end of the Antonine Wall. The remains of this formidable earthwork would go on to have an enormous impact on both the landscape and identity of the Scottish nation, inspiring myths and legends and becoming a subject of heated debate amongst scholars and patriots across the centuries. This Context Conversation will describe a journey on foot along the route of the ancient Roman frontier in Scotland, a three-day trip across 40 miles of central Scotland, but also through more than 2000 years of Scottish history. As we will discover, this is a walk that is often enlightening, sometimes challenging, occasionally frustrating, but definitely never dull.

Led by a historian who has studied both the Roman occupation of the Antonine Wall and its fate in the subsequent centuries, this interactive seminar will explain the history, archaeology, and legacy of the frontier as we travel along it. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a unique insight into Scotland’s largest and most enigmatic ancient monument.

Alan Montgomery was born and raised in Scotland but has spent most of his adult life in London. Having achieved an MA in Art History at Glasgow University, he worked for many years in the art world at both an international auction house and an antique dealer. In recent years he has returned to academia, achieving an MA in Classical Civilisation in 2011, and has recently completed a Ph.D. in which he analyzed eighteenth-century attitudes towards the ancient Roman world. In addition to his work for Context Travel, Alan also writes catalog essays on Contemporary Art for a leading auctioneer. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2017, he has just started work on a book inspired by his Ph.D. research, which will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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