Friday, 30 September 2011

Antonine Wall Museum

Distance SlabIt has been a while since the Antonine Wall was in the news.

One of the recurring features of this blog -- besides championing a sensible interpretation of the disappearance of the Lost Ninth Legion (most recently here) -- is to follow developments on the Roman frontier in Scotland (most recently here). So this emperor was excited to learn that Glasgow University's Hunterian Museum -- home of many spectacular finds from the Antonine Wall -- has re-opened after a two-year refurbishment.

The Guardian newspaper reports, with not a little hyperbole, that "one of the Roman empire's most enigmatic monuments is set to reveal some of its secrets". Enigmatic? Secrets? (Well, I suppose journalists have got to drum up interest in their stories somehow.)

In fact, journalist Charlotte Higgins' second attempt at the story is a lot better: no hyperbole; just the bare facts (to parody her headline). She draws attention to the beautiful new gallery showcasing the permanent "Antonine Wall: Rome's Final Frontier" exhibition, and praises the designers' avoidance of gimmicky interactive displays. Here, rather than a "most enigmatic monument", the Antonine Wall is described -- perfectly -- as "this relatively little-known patch of Britain's Roman past". Second time's a charm, Charlotte.