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Public Events & Speakers Series

During the second half of WallCAP, we ran a series of free, monthly public talks and other events. The WallCAP team decided to start these lectures to continue to build on the success of the Hadrian’s Wall ‘Virtual’ Networking Days, held in early March 2021.  

Topics covered included updates on recent excavations along Hadrian’s Wall, conservation efforts in the World Heritage Site and others. Many of the topics were chosen from feedback received at the end of the Networking Days events. Full details and recordings of each talk can be found below.

WallCAP - Successes and Reflections

WallCAP Project Successes and Reflections
Speaker: The WallCAP team
Thursday 22 September 2022

The WallCAP team gives the final Speakers Series talk of the project. They provide an overview of project accomplishments and successes and reflect on the 4 years of WallCAP.

Excavations at Birdoswald

Excavations at Birdoswald
Speaker: Tony Wilmott, Senior Archaeologist, Historic England
Tuesday 30 March 2021

In 1961, Eric Birley wrote that ‘Birdoswald is a site of exceptional interest; in the record of Wall-research it is even more important than Greatchesters or Housesteads or Chesters’. Its interest and importance have only been enhanced since. In this talk I will give an overview of research on the site, concentrating particularly on the excavations and the development of the site since 1987. I will bring the current ideas and interpretations of the site up to date in preparation for the start of a new series of excavations starting this summer.

Management of a National Trail within a World Heritage Site

Management of a National Trail within a World Heritage Site
Speaker: Gary Pickles, National Trail Ranger, Northumberland National Park
Tuesday 27 April 2021

Join us to hear how a National Trail Ranger manages access to archaeology and how they manage it in a sustainable manner so as to both promote access for the future and protection of the past. The talk will look at:

  • What is a Right of Way and a National Trail
  • What is the Trail responsible for
  • Management techniques to achieve our goals

Outwith the Wall - The Romans in Redesdale & Beyond

Outwith the Wall: The Romans in Redesdale & Beyond
Speaker: Jim Crow, Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Wednesday 26 May 2021

Roman intervention with the northern British tribes did not stop at Hadrian’s Wall and this talk will consider the evidence for the Roman presence and power along two of the main Roman roads in Northumberland north of the Wall, Dere Street and the Devil’s Causeway. In addition to reviewing the known physical remains of roads, temporary camps and forts we’ll also consider the results of excavation and survey over the past 25 years at High Rochester and draw attention the rich epigraphic and sculptural record which survives in northern museums.

Jim Crow is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, his research interests are Roman and Byzantine archaeology in Britain and in Greece and Turkey, including the water supply of Byzantine Constantinople. He directed research projects at High Rochester in the 1990s when he taught at Newcastle University and most recently carried out a survey at Rubers Law hillfort in the Borders.

Rails to the Wall

Rails to the Wall
Speaker: Fiona Forsythe, Officer, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership
Wednesday 30 June 2021

Who remembers the images of Hadrian’s Wall on the concourse at Glasgow Central in 2019? Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership are rather proud of their 15ft model of the Wall, lovingly painted by the Platform Painters of Haltwhistle. Of course, like the rest of us, the Wall hasn’t travelled much in the last couple of years! Come along and hear about the work which TVCRP has been doing to get ready to promote rail travel to Hadrian’s Wall this summer.

Corbridge Excavations
Community Information Night

Corbridge Excavations 2021 – Community Information Night
Speakers: Dr Rob Collins & Kathryn Murphy, WallCAP
Wednesday  July 2021

Hadrian’s Wall Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP) is returning to the Corbridge playing fields in July to explore the northern edges of the Roman town. After uncovering a road and buildings in summer 2019, we are excited to see what archaeology will be found in this year’s dig! Catch up with the recorded Community Information night to find out all about what we found last time, what we are planning for July and what we are hoping to learn about the history of Corbridge.

Is this the End? Hadrian's Wall & the End of the Roman Empire Q & A

Is this the End? Hadrian’s Wall & the End of the Roman Empire Q & A
Speaker: Dr Rob Collins, WallCAP
Tuesday 14 September 2021

What happens to a frontier when society collapses? Traditionally, it has been assumed that Roman soldiers were withdrawn from Britain for deployment elsewhere in the Roman Empire by AD 408, and that without these guardians, Roman civilization in Britain collapsed in the early decades of the 5th century AD. However, archaeological evidence has demonstrated a much more complex picture. This lecture will explore the evidence from Hadrian’s Wall that shows life continued at some forts, and what that means for our understanding of the end of Roman Britain.

This session is a follow up Q & A to the Insights Lecture that Dr Collins gave last year. When you register, you will receive a link to the recorded lecture that we recommend you watch prior to joining us on September 14. 

The Quarries of Hadrian's Wall

The Quarries of Hadrian’s Wall
Speaker: Dr Katy O’Donnell, WallCAP
Monday 11 October 2021

In this presentation Dr Katy O’Donnell, WallCAP SSD Officer, will talk about her PhD research on ‘The Quarries of Hadrian’s Wall’, recently completed at the University of Edinburgh.

Within the area surrounding Hadrian’s Wall, over 500 sandstone, limestone and dolerite quarries are recorded in modern mapping. This large number represents the complex and changing use of the landscape surrounding the Wall. Over the last two millennia, this region has seen Roman invasion and settlement, medieval monastic building, major agricultural land-use, military road construction, and the growth of two cities. It was necessary to understand the entire history of the region in order to establish which of the many quarries may have been associated with the Roman Wall, due to very limited changes in quarrying techniques up to the modern era. At this time, only seven of the hundreds of quarries have been identified as Roman due to inscriptions left by the quarrymen. Looking at land-use, historical mapping and industrial and pre-industrial quarrying methods has allowed a categorisation of the quarries to suggest which, if any, of the undated sites are the most likely to be associated with the Roman Wall.

This PhD research also included the largest scale petrological testing programme ever completed along Hadrian’s Wall. Ninety-three samples were taken in total, thirty-seven samples from archaeological remains and fifty-six quarry samples.

The Wall in the West

The Wall in the West
Speakers: Dr Jane Harrison, WallCAP Community Archaeologist, and Kathryn Murphy, WallCAP Project Support Officer
Wednesday 17 November 2021

Why does so little of the Wall survive above ground in the west? This talk, by Dr Jane Harrison and Kathryn Murphy, will explore this question and tell the story of the rare survival of a standing stretch of Wall near Port Carlisle and WallCAP’s work to ensure its future.

Exploring the Evidence for Christianity on the Later Roman Northern Frontier

Exploring the Evidence for Christianity on the Later Roman Northern Frontier
Speaker: Dr David Petts, Durham University
Monday 6 December 2021

A talk to explore the evidence for the presence of Christianity in the military frontier zone of Roman Britain in the 4th & 5th centuries.  Drawing on historic finds and more recent discoveries from sites such as Binchester and Vindolanda, the extent to which the Christian church was established in the final century of Roman rule will be considered. Building on this, it will also try to understand the role of the Church in the ‘difficult’ 5th century as society north and south of Wall went through important social transformations.


Dr David Petts is Associate Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University and a specialist in the archaeology of the early church in late Roman and early medieval Britain. Having excavated extensively at the Roman fort of Binchester he is now conducting fieldwork on Holy Island-Lindisfarne.

Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project

Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project
Speaker: Séverine Peyrichou, Project Development Officer, Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project
Tuesday 25 January 2022

Join Severine Peyrichou for an update on the ‘Rediscovering the Antonine Wall’ project as it enters its final year.
After a short introduction about the project and background on the Antonine Wall, we will look at the different ways we engage with local communities and hard to reach groups through our exhibition and the use of cartoons based on real people who left their names on the Wall.

Severine Peyrichou is the Project Development Officer for Rediscovering the Antonine Wall and works with community groups and volunteers.

Roman War Crimes

Roman War Crimes
Speaker: Dr. Christof Flügel
Thursday 19 May 2022

The efficiency and organisation of the Roman army are reflected in the glittering world of Roman re-enactors and spectacular special events like Hadrian’s Wall Cavalry. But the Roman army, which counted only 400,000 soldiers during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, was primarily a highly efficient war machine. The famous opening scene, “On my command unleash hell,“ in Ridley Scott’s, ‘Gladiator’ is from an archaeological point of view, highly reliable. Many of the actions of the Roman army would be qualified as war crimes according to modern definitions – mass executions, complete destruction of cities, deportation of the civil population, mutilation and violence. The Ukrainian war has brought our ideas of warfare back to the front of our minds. What now do we see if we take a closer look at contemporary sources such as the ‘Column of Marcus Aurelius’ in Rome? How does that sit with us today?

Space, Place, Affect:
The Cultural Afterlife of Hadrian’s Wall

Space, Place Affect: The Cultural Afterlife of Hadrian’s Wall
Speaker: Dr. Stacy Gillis
Thursday 16 June 2022

Monuments like Hadrian’s Wall circulate in the cultural imaginary in complex and challenging ways: it has figured in art and literature since then, with a particular swell across the long twentieth century, with numerous articulations of the Wall in prose, poetry, television, film and video games. In this paper, I unpack some of the complexities of the cultural afterlife of the Wall, thinking about the connection of past and present through the act of writing, and work on the Anthropocene, in thinking about notions of stability and the human.

Update on the Village Atlas Project

Update on the Village Atlas Project
Speaker: Alan Rushworth
Thursday 1 September 2022

The Archaeological Practice is working with WallCAP on researching and producing six Village Atlases along Hadrian’s Wall at Ouseburn/Byker, Benwell, Heddon on the Wall, Gilsland, Walton, and Bowness on Solway. The project has involved much local community involvement, test pitting in gardens and local history information gathering The completed Village Atlases are due to be published in September.