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).
Primary Sources – Published Collections
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)
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)
Vindolanda Tablets Online [online database of the tablets and English translations]
Mann, JC and Penman, R (eds), The Literary Sources for Roman Britain (London, 1985)
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:
- Newcastle (the Great North Museum – includes the Roman collections from Newcastle University’s Museum of Antiquities)
- Carlisle (Tullie House).
There are also objects on display in the British Museum.
- Paintings from the mid-19th century by the brothers Charles and Henry Burdon Richardson are held by the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
- Paintings in the James Irwin Coates archive, reproduced in T Wilmott, Hadrian’s Wall: Archaeological Research by English Heritage 1976–2000 (London, 2009), 8–49 [165 drawings dated 1877–96]
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)
- Antonine Wall World Heritage Site
- Frontiers of the Roman Empire
- Hadrian’s Wall Country
- Main Limes Museums [includes links to downloadable books and map collections]
- National Mapping Programme: Hadrian’s Wall
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