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Durham University

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Discovering Roman (and pre-Roman) Britain

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


This project is being undertaken by Richard Hingley to chart the recovery of knowledge about Roman Britain. Two book have already been published: One focuses upon the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries (R. Hingley 2000, Roman Officers and English Gentlemen, Routledge) and the second explores the period from William Camden to Francis Haverfield (R. Hingley 2008, The Recovery of Roman Britain: ‘A Colony so Fertile’, Oxford University Press). The second of these books, which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through a major research grant, seeks to investigate how discoveries and interpretations of objects and sites gradually came to influence the ideas that were communicated through the classical accounts of pre-Roman and Roman-period populations. A separate project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2007 to 2011, explored perceptions of Hadrian’s Wall from the eighth to the twenty first century (see Research Project on ‘Tales of the Frontier’).

A further project is underway currently to explore the context of contemporary knowledge of the pre-Roman and Roman peoples of the islands of Great Britain. This is addressing the ways that various groups (including those in the academy) effectively re-enact Roman Britain in creating their identities.

Hadrian's Wall at Heddon-on-the-Wall


From the Department of Archaeology