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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly

Nesbitt, C. & Tolia-Kelly, D.P. Hadrian’s Wall: Embodied Archaeologies of the Linear Monument. Journal of Social Archaeology. 2009;9:368-390.
  • Publication type: Journal Article

Author(s) from Durham


The aim of this paper is to consider the value of an embodied account of the Roman Frontier of Hadrian’s Wall, in Britain. This heritage site has often been understood within archaeology in predominantly Imperial and military terms. While this is a crucial aspect of the historical meanings of the monument, there has been little focus on factors such as - the changing social role, the socialities produced through its presence, and the perceptions of the Wall evident in historical accounts. This paper seeks to raise issues of embodied encounter with the Wall that signify alternative social and theoretical perspectives that need to be part of a contemporary interdisciplinary research agenda. Drawing on theoretical approaches in archaeology, geography, and anthropology this paper will investigate the potential for enriching archaeological knowledge through these approaches. This paper will focus on accounts of some of the early visitors to the Wall to consider movement on, and encounter with the Wall through an embodied account. This account seeks to enrich our archaeological history by being attentive to the power of the material landscape on the senses of being and feeling of those that encounter it. The experience of the wall is made intelligible through a body-centred account.