Sources for Hadrian’s Wall

Much has been written about Hadrian’s Wall. The works listed below are generally about the Wall as a whole rather than individual sites. The most complete lists of references, for individual sites as well as more general works, are to be found in DJ Breeze, J Collingwood Bruce’s Handbook to the Roman Wall, 14th edn (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2006) and MFA Symonds and DJP Mason (eds), Frontiers of Knowledge (Durham, 2009).

An extensive bibliography of publications on Roman frontiers can be found in DJ Breeze, The Frontiers of Imperial Rome (Barnsley, 2011).

An inscription recording an aqueduct (aqua adducta) erected at Chesters by the auxiliary cavalry unit, the ala II Astrum, when Ulpius Marcellus was governor of Britain (AD 178–84)

An inscription recording an aqueduct (‘aqua adducta’) erected at Chesters by the auxiliary cavalry unit, the ala II Astrum, when Ulpius Marcellus was governor of Britain (AD 178–84)

Primary Sources – Published Collections

Inscriptions

One of the most important sources for Hadrian’s Wall (and Roman Britain in general) is the series of inscribed stones which record buildings, events, people and places. They are spread across museums around Britain; some are only known from drawings made hundreds of years ago. In 1965 RG Collingwood and RP Wright published all those found up to 1954. There are now three volumes in the Roman Inscriptions of Britain (RIB) series:

  • Collingwood, RG and Wright, RP, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol 1: Inscriptions on Stone (Oxford, 1965) (summarised on the Roman Britain website)
  • Frere, S and Tomlin, RSO, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol 2: Instrumentum Domesticum (Stroud, 1991)
  • Tomlin, RSO, Wright, RP and Hassall, MWC, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol 3: Inscriptions on Stone 1955–2006 (Oxford, 2009)
  • Dobson, B and Maxfield, V A (eds), Inscriptions of Roman Britain, 4th edn (London, 2006)

      

Sculpture

Coulston, JC and Phillips, EJ (eds), Corpus of Signorum Imperii Romani: Corpus of Sculpture of the Roman World – Great Britain, vol 1, fascicule 6: Hadrian’s Wall West of the North Tyne and Carlisle (Oxford, 1988)

          

Writing Tablets

Vindolanda Tablets Online [online database of the tablets and English translations] 

           

Literary Sources

Mann, JC and Penman, R (eds), The Literary Sources for Roman Britain (London, 1985)

These hooded deities (the genii cucullati), found in a shrine in the vicus at Housesteads, are part of the collection of Roman finds at Housesteads Museum

These hooded deities (the genii cucullati), found in a shrine in the vicus at Housesteads, are part of the collection of Roman finds at Housesteads Museum

Material Sources

A list of the archives holding material relating to Hadrian’s Wall, together with brief descriptions of each collection including those listed below, is included in MFA Symonds and DJP Mason (eds), Frontiers of Knowledge, vol 1: Resource Assessment (Durham, 2009), 171–7.

There are museums at the forts at:

and in:

There are also objects on display in the British Museum

Visual Sources

Secondary Sources

Excavation Reports

These are mainly published in Archaeologia Aeliana, the journal of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle (1822–present) (series 1 and 2, 1822–1904, are available online), and the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society (1866–present) [an index to the Transactions is available online).

Other papers have been published in Britannia (1970–present; subscription required).

    

Books and Articles

Bidwell, P (ed), Hadrian’s Wall 1989–1999 (Kendal, 1999)

Bidwell, P, ‘The system of obstacles on Hadrian’s Wall: their extent, date and purpose’, Arbeia Journal, 8 (2005), 53–75

Bidwell, P, Roman Forts in Britain (London, 2007)

Bidwell, P (ed), Understanding Hadrian’s Wall (South Shields, 2008)

Birley, E, Research on Hadrian’s Wall (Kendal, 1961)

Birley, R, Vindolanda: A Roman Frontier Fort on Hadrian’s Wall (Stroud, 2009)

Bowman, AK, Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and its People (London, 1994)

Bowman, AK and Thomas, JD, The Vindolanda Writing Tablets, 3 vols (London, 1983–2003)

Breeze, DJ, J Collingwood Bruce’s Handbook to the Roman Wall, 14th edn (Newcastle upon Tyne, 2006)

Breeze, DJ, Hadrian’s Wall (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2006) [buy the guidebook]

Breeze, DJ, ‘Did Hadrian design Hadrian’s Wall?’ Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th series, 38 (2009), 87–103

Breeze, DJ, The Frontiers of Imperial Rome (Barnsley, 2011)

Breeze, DJ and Dobson, B, Hadrian’s Wall, 4th edn (London, 2000)

Collingwood, RG, ‘The purpose of the Roman Wall’, The Vasculum, 8 (1921), 1, 4–9 [accessed 20 February 2015]

Erwin, A, Hadrian’s Wall, A Social and Cultural History (Lancaster, 2000)

Hill, P, The Construction of Hadrian’s Wall (Stroud, 2006)

Hodgson, N (ed), Hadrian’s Wall 1999–2009 (Kendal, 2009)

Poulter, J, Surveying Roman Military Landscapes across Northern Britain, British Archaeological Reports, British Series 492 (Oxford, 2009)

Poulter, J, The Planning of Roman Roads and Walls in Northern Britain (Stroud, 2010)

Symonds, MFA and Mason, DJP (eds), Frontiers of Knowledge: A Research Framework for Hadrian’s Wall (Durham, 2009) [accessed 20 February 2015]

Wilmott, T, Hadrian’s Wall: Archaeological Research by English Heritage 1976–2000 (London, 2009) [accessed 20 February 2015]

Woolliscroft, DJ, ‘Signalling and the design of Hadrian’s Wall’, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th series, 17 (1989), 5–20

Woolliscroft, DJ, Roman Military Signalling (London, 2003) 

    

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