News in brief: Hadrian’s Wall, Bishop Auckland, and Scottish heritage

A round-up of some of the latest stories from the realm of UK archaeology.

Multi-hued Housesteads

To mark the 1,900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall, English Heritage has installed a modern (and colourful) reimagination of the original Roman gatehouse at Housesteads Roman Fort. The work – called The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is – was created by the artist Morag Myerscough along with the local community. It stands in the exact spot of the former north gatehouse and visitors can climb to the top in order to appreciate the same views Roman soldiers would have once seen.

The installation is part of the HW1900 Festival and will be open to the public until 30 October. The structure will then be removed, and the placards given to the community members who painted them.

IMAGE: English Heritage.

Saving Scottish heritage

Nine heritage projects have been awarded a total of £98,988 by Historic Environment Scotland.

Recipients include Falkirk Council, which plans to repair a monument to James Bruce of Kinnaird – a descendant of Robert the Bruce and Mary Dundas – as well as a community project bringing together local artists, writers, and tree-health experts to preserve the legacy of a historic wych elm that is dying of Dutch Elm Disease. Located in the grounds of Beauly Priory, the tree is believed to be the oldest of its kind in Europe.

Funding has also been given to support the Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft Programme, which offers training in heritage craft skills, and to a project investigating the archaeology of the Rhins peninsula in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Bishop Big Dig

Throughout 2022, archaeologists from Durham University, together with local volunteers from the Auckland Project and students from King James I Academy, have been digging test-pits across the town of Bishop Auckland, Durham, as part of the community project ‘The Bishop Big Dig’. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the project aims to bring local history to light.

Although no Roman discoveries have been made so far, despite the presence of the nearby fort at Binchester, gardens lent to the project by members of the public have so far produced more than 2,000 artefacts spanning the medieval period to the present, including clay pipes, animal bones, coins, a 1970s fire alarm, and a vinyl record by Meatloaf.

The project ends in December, but the team are still looking for more places to excavate. For more information, see