Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Hadrian's Wall)


Heritage Category:
World Heritage Site
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The 118-km-long Hadrian's Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the then northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia. It is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. Together with the German Limes and the Antonine Wall, Hadrian's Wall form part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.

Hadrian's Wall is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire transnational cultural World Heritage Site. In March 2011 the other elements comprise the German Limes (inscribed 2005) and the Antonine Wall (inscribed 2008). Its coordinates are NGR SW: 298058, 495707, NE: 436625,575177 and it measures 1692.3 hectares. The boundaries and buffer zone were agreed in 1997.

There is a World Heritage Site Management Plan for the World Heritage Site (2009) and coordination of the implementation of the objectives and action plan is undertaken by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd. A Management Plan Committee, made up of key stakeholders, oversees World Heritage activities.

Date of inscription of Hadrian's Wall: 1987

Date of inscription of Frontiers of the Roman Empire (German Limes) and amalgamation of Hadrian's Wall and German Limes into Frontiers of the Roman Empire: 2005

Date of inscription of Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Antonine Wall): 2008


This entry is compiled from information provided by UNESCO who hold the official record for all World Heritage Sites at their Paris Head Quarters. This entry is provided for information only and those requiring further assistance should contact the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO.

Criterion (ii): Hadrian's Wall exerted great influence on the spatial organization of the British limes over approximately 300 years. This frontier zone is still a part of the landscape from Tyne to Solway.

Criterion (iii): This military zone bears exceptional testimony to Roman colonization by the large number of human settlements associated with the defenses: the vicus of Vindolanda (Chesterholm) is an excellent example of a garrison settlement which contributes to an understanding of how, in times of peace, away from the entrenched camp, soldiers and their families lived.

Criterion (iv): Hadrian's Wall is an outstanding example of a fortified limes. No other ensemble from the Roman Empire illustrates as ambitious and coherent a system of defensive constructions perfected by engineers over the course of several generations. Whether with respect to military architectural construction techniques, strategy design in the Imperial period or a policy for ground use and the organization of space in a frontier zone, this cultural property is an exceptional reference whose universal value leaves no doubt.


Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

A draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value is in preparation for the Frontiers of the Roman Empire which will be agreed by an intergovernmental coordinating group before being submitted to UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. The draft statement will include details on the individual sites.

World Heritage Site inscribed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in 1987.

End of official listing

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