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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
MSPs called to support Roman wall
The Antonine Wall
The wall marked the northern most frontier of the Roman Empire
Roman soldiers descended on the Scottish Parliament to encourage MSPs to back an application for the Antonine Wall to gain World Heritage Status.

Scottish Conservative Deputy Leader Murdo Fraser MSP has put forward a motion calling on the parliament to support the application.

He has also called on the Scottish Executive to create a National Roman Centre in Scotland.

The 37-mile wall is the UK's official nomination for World Heritage status.

It is the most northerly walled frontier of the Roman Empire and runs from Bo'ness, near Falkirk, to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.

We could eventually have thousands of visitors interested in Scotland's ancient Roman sites
MSP Murdo Fraser

The Antonine Guard held a display at the parliament's Garden Lobby on Wednesday wearing full Roman gear.

Mr Fraser said: "I want to see The Antonine Wall gain World Heritage status and the creation of a National Roman Centre in Scotland.

"The impact and contribution of the Romans coming to Scotland hundreds of years ago cannot be underestimated.

"I believe that we must protect and preserve our ancient Roman sites in Scotland and use our sites as an education tool to get Scotland's youngsters interested in our past."

He added: "I am positive that if we get World Heritage status for the Antonine Wall and have a National Roman Centre we could eventually have thousands of visitors interested in Scotland's ancient Roman sites."

"I welcome the Antonine Guard coming to the Scottish Parliament and support the important work they carry out in Scotland and abroad."

Authority support

UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced in January that the Antonine Wall was the UK's official nomination for World Heritage Status.

Conservation body Unesco, which is responsible for the scheme, will examine the proposal and make a final decision at a future date.

The bid has been supported by five local authorities throughout central and the west of Scotland.

The wall was built in about 140 AD to keep Pictish warriors out of the Roman Empire after the conquest of southern Scotland.

It became a monument to the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius but was abandoned after just a generation, in about 165 AD.

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