V(otum) S(olvit) L(ibens) M(erito)

News and stories from the world of Archaeology and its related disciplines

Flaming torches light up Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall, a Roman-era fortification spanning the width of northern England, was lit up from end-to-end by volunteers carrying flaming torches on the 14th March 2010 (as previously announced here).

As night fell, 500 gas flames were lit at 250-metre intervals for 84 miles (135 kilometres) from Wallsend in northeast England to Bowness-on-Solway in the northwest.

This created a coast-to-coast line of light along the route of a path which runs next to the wall.

Hadrian’s Wall was built in 122 AD on the orders of the Roman emperor Hadrian to mark his empire’s northern frontier. It is the largest monument from the ancient era in northern Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The torch-lighting event marked British Tourism Week and the 1,600th anniversary of the Roman departure from Britain in 410 AD.

“When you see you the lights here, it’s easy to imagine what it must have been like to be stationed here up on the wall,” said Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, which looks after the wall and organised the event.

The only thing that VSLM has to add is a personal digression – “The beacons of Minas Tirith! The beacons are lit!



Hadrian’s Wall


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Setting Hadrian’s wall ablaze

Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall will create a spectacular line of light from coast to coast. This once in a lifetime event will take place on Saturday 13 March 2010 and will follow the route of the 84 mile long Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail.  Around 500 individual points of light placed at 250 metre intervals will be used to light up  the Wall. The first one will be illuminated at a public event at Segedunum Roman Fort at Wallsend in the North East, with the line of light then making its way along the Wall to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria over the following hour. As it reaches Carlisle there will be a second public event ‘Welcoming the Light’ to celebrate the light’s arrival and passing through.

Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall aims to capture the imagination and highlight the immense scale and beauty of Hadrian’s Wall and the countryside, villages, towns and cities that it passes through. 2010 is also the 1600th anniversary of the end of Roman Britain in AD 410 – one of the greatest turning points in our history. So as well as celebrating a truly iconic piece of world heritage the line of light will help to mark this hugely significant anniversary.

Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall is an ambitious project led by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd.


A thousand people will set the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall ablaze this March in an attempt to reignite flagging interest – both at home and abroad – in England’s historical heritage.

The ancient wall will be illuminated by huge torches at 500 different points across its 84 miles, with each lit in succession in order to resemble a giant Mexican wave.

“Creating an 84-mile line of light from coast to coast is a massive logistical challenge,” organiser John Farquhar-Smith tells CNTraveller.com. “Fortunately we’ll have the help of more than a thousand volunteer ‘Illuminators’, who have signed up to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event.  Together we’ll be creating a spectacle that will illuminate this iconic World Heritage Site and the wide variety of landscapes that it passes through, including the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle, and some of England’s most stunning countryside.”

The stunt allows rare access to the wall – which is protected by rules that prohibits people from walking on it – for the participating volunteers, while the general public is encouraged to stay back and view the spectacular from designated points along the way.

“Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall will bring to life Britain’s longest and greatest piece of heritage,” Tuttiet continues. “It will also be a celebration of the landscape of Hadrian’s Wall Country and mark the 1,600th anniversary of the end of Roman Britain in AD410 – ending centuries of Roman administration.”


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