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World Heritage Convention

Decision 32 COM 8B.40
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Frontiers of the Roman Empire (UNITED KINGDOM / GERMANY)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Approves the extension of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire, United Kingdom and Germany, to include the Antonine Wall on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii), (iii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Antonine Wall fully illustrates the effort of building the Limes on the frontiers of the Roman Empire, at the time of its apogee and greatest extension in the British Isles and worldwide (middle of the 2nd century AD). It embodies a high degree of expertise in the technical mastery of earthen defensive constructions, in the construction of a strategic system of forts and camps, and in the general military organisation of the Limes. The Antonine Wall also demonstrates the diffusion of the military and civil engineering of the Roman civilisation to the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean world.

Criterion (ii): The Antonine Wall is one of the significant elements of the Roman Limes present in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It exhibits important interchanges of human and cultural values at the apogee of the Roman Empire.

Criterion (iii): The Antonine Wall bears testimony to the maximum extension of the power of the Roman Empire, by the consolidation of its frontiers in the north of the British Isles, in the middle of the 2nd century AD. The property illustrates the Roman Empire's ambition to dominate the world in order to establish its law and way of life there in a long-term perspective.

Criterion (iv): The Antonine Wall is an outstanding example of the technological development of Roman military architecture and frontier defence.

The Antonine Wall has preserved its authenticity and integrity both in its physical remains and in its setting.

The legal protection is sufficient, the protection and management measures carried out and planned by the government, by Historic Scotland and by the local authorities appropriately address the potential risks caused by climate, agriculture, industrial and social development, and increasing tourism. Strong control of development plans and all types of activities can preserve the values of the nominated area and that of its buffer zone. Regular monitoring helps preserve the setting of the site.

4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:

  • a) pay particular attention to urban and agricultural development plans that could affect the nominated property, particularly as regards non-visible parts in the buffer zone. In the latter case, the planning authorities should work in conjunction with the Historic Scotland department in charge of heritage conservation;
  • b) to restore turf areas at certain points of the nominated property if they are absent or have been damaged. The role of turf in the protection of the structure is of course important;
  • c) to make sure that the Croy Hill quarry, just next to the buffer zone, does not threaten the site with a landslide in the immediate or more distant future.
Decisions Adopted at the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec City, 2008)
Context of Decision