Page last updated at 06:09 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 07:09 UK

Wall gains World Heritage status

Antonine Wall. Pic by Undiscovered Scotland
The wall spans 37 miles across central Scotland

An ancient fortified wall which formed the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire has been made a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The Antonine Wall, which stretched 37 miles across Scotland's central belt, was given the status at a summit of the UN cultural body in Canada.

It joins a host of renowned sites across the world including the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge.

The wall was built 20 years after Hadrian's Wall and 100 miles north.

It runs from the Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east.

Although much of it was destroyed over time, sections of the fortification can still be seen at several points.

It is now hoped the World Heritage Status will bring with it a tourism renaissance to museums and Roman sites in the area.

The wall runs from the Clyde to the Forth across central Scotland

The wall, which was completed in 142 AD, takes its name from Emperor Antoninus Pius.

He ordered its construction in a bid to halt the advance of Caledonian tribes into southern Scotland, then under Roman rule.

Built of a rampart of soil and turf and resting on a stone foundation, it stood 12ft tall and was dotted with 19 forts.

It was occupied for about 20 years, until the Romans retreated around 160 AD to Hadrian's Wall, a stone structure straddling northern England.

The bid for World Heritage Status was launched in 2003 by the UK Government and was also backed by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said the announcement represented "the highest accolade of a nation's heritage".

Some of the wall's best-preserved remains are in the Falkirk Council area and council chiefs expressed hopes the status would boost tourism.

Recognition for empire's final frontier
08 Jul 08 |  Tayside and Central
Roman wall in running for award
10 Oct 06 |  Scotland
World Heritage bid hope for wall
20 Jun 06 |  Scotland
Roman wall heritage bid backing
14 Jun 05 |  Scotland
Roman wall builds heritage claim
22 Feb 03 |  Scotland
What is a World Heritage site?
06 Apr 99 |  UK News

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