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Going to the Wall

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Rosemary Burton on a handbook for Hadrian's Wall

Dismal airport delays, suspect airline food and international terrorism are merely the latest in a long line of deterrents to foreign travel. 'In the summer of 1848', wrote John Collingwood Bruce, 'I had intended making an excursion to the South of Europe, visiting Rome amongst other places. The revolutionary convulsions of that year prevented me fulfilling my intention. I went to the Roman Wall instead.' According to Roger Miket, writing in the book Between and Beyond the Walls (edited by Miket and Burgess, published by John Donald), this decision by Bruce 'provides one of the most notable milestones in the development of Northern archaeology'. If lead directly to publications of Bruce's Handbook to the Roman Wall, which is still in print, and it also established a tradition which continues to this day.

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