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World Heritage site a step closer for Antonine Wall

27 March 2007

The bid to have the Antonine Wall recognised as a World Heritage Site is a step closer after the nomination document was accepted by UNESCO.

Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson said: “The Antonine Wall is an outstanding archaeological treasure, not just for Scotland, but for Europe. We have now heard from UNESCO that the nomination has passed the first stage.

“A lot of work has gone into preparing

The bid would see the Antonine Wall become part of a multi-national Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site. The Wall represents the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

Scotland currently has four World Heritage Sites – this is an impressive achievement and is important in both cultural and economic terms. Tourism is Scotland’s biggest industry and 83% of tourists from overseas visited a historic site during their stay.

Notes for editors

1. Historic Scotland was established in 1991 as an executive agency of the Scottish Executive and is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers. Its remit is to safeguard the nation’s built heritage and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

3. The Antonine Wall stretches from Bo’ness on the River Forth to Old Kirkpatrick on the Clyde and is 37 miles in length. The ‘wall’ consists of a turf rampart on a stone base, fronted by a wide and deep ditch. Forts linked by a road, were built at roughly two-mile intervals.

The Antonine Wall was only occupied for a generation, being abandoned soon after 160 A.D. About two-thirds of the Wall survives today, the rest has been lost to housing, factories and roads. Four miles of the Antonine Wall and four forts are in the care of Scottish Ministers and looked after by Historic Scotland.

4. Scotland currently has four World Heritage Sites (WHS). The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, St Kilda Archipelago, Edinburgh Old and New Towns, and New Lanark. Hadrian’s Wall in England is already a World Heritage Site, designated in 1988. There are only 600 World Heritage Sites so status is still a rare accolade.

6. The Antonine Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius following there-conquest of Southern Scotland by his army in 140-142 A.D.

7. The five countries involved in the Europe 2000 grant application are Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873