Monday, 14 July 2008

A little perspective

Mountain Railway of India

While the UK press has understandably trumpeted the Antonine Wall's success in achieving World Heritage Status (reports appeared, for example, in The Scotsman, The Guardian, The Times, and The Press Association), a glance at the official UNESCO press release reveals that we are just an "extension to an existing property".

How humiliating.

The copy-editors at UNESCO haven't even punctuated us properly! We appear (somewhat breathlessly) as "Mountain Railways of India Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain The Antonine Wall (United Kingdom)". El Pais newspaper understandably chose to emphasize the Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain, an extension to the Cave of Altamira, inscribed in 1985. And I don't know about the Indian newspapers, but the Philippine Daily Enquirer didn't even mention us at all!

I suppose when you're an old Roman emperor, it's easy to lose perspective.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Mission accomplished!

We Win Photo

Wall gains World Heritage Status

Today, the BBC reported the good news: "An ancient fortified wall which formed the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire has been made a World Heritage Site by Unesco." Full report here.

"Falkirk councillor, Adrian Mahoney said: 'Gaining world heritage status is a major achievement and there are so many new opportunities to maximise the benefit to our local area in the future.' But with new opportunities come new responsibilities. This is not the time for resting on laurels.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Exciting times in Quebec

Duntocher Fort Sign

This week saw the opening of the 32nd Session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Quebec City.

Exciting times for a Roman emperor with a personal interest in the archaeology of Scotland, because The Antonine Wall is the UK's official 2008 nomination for World Heritage Status.

Regular visitors will know that, as the owner and instigator of the Wall, I am an enthusiastic supporter of the bid. (See new "Favorites" sidebar for previous posts on this subject ... mehercule -- it's been a long journey!) But some of the less salubrious sectors of my frontier give me pause for reflection. It would perhaps be a good thing to post a few caretaker garrisons, just to maintain proper decorum; also, they could spend a moment whitewashing the distinctly faded bits (as, for example, in this photo).

The timetable of the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee suggests that a decision will be reached on Monday 7 July. I am perched on the edge of my throne ...