7. Managing the Romans

7. ‘Managing the Romans????’ Preservation, protection and community management of frontiers. Opportunities, challenges, and use of ‘citizen science’
Wednesday, 24 August 2022, Steigerzaal

Session Chairs: Tessa de Groot, Daniel Poulet & Nigel Mills
Affiliation: Cultural Heritage Agency, the Netherlands
Affiliation of 1st co-organiser: Zsolnay Heritage Management Nonprofit Ltd., Hungary
Affiliation of 2nd co-organiser: Nigel Mills Heritage, United Kingdom

The session will explore issues and approaches concerning the preservation and protection of Roman heritage across the Limes and the challenges and opportunities for communities to contribute to management processes. The session is of particular relevance in view of the impending expansion of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Cluster to include the Lower German Limes and the Danube Limes and will provide an opportunity to share experience and to discuss issues and approaches.

The proposed session is structured as two parts, but there may be overlap between them:

  • Part One: Preserving and protecting the Limes. Session organisers: Tessa de Groot & Nigel Mills. This part of the session will focus on exchanging knowledge and experiences on different ways of protecting and preserving archaeological sites and on the preservation and protection aspects of presenting sites to the public. Papers will cover different legislative approaches as well as practical issues on the ground.
  • Part Two: Engaging communities in managing the Limes. Session organisers: Tamar Leene, Daniel Poulet &Nigel Mills. This part of the session will focus on community engagement with the processes of managing the Limes including capacity building, knowledge development, community involvement, tourism, dealing with development, visitor experiences and other aspects.
Time Presenter (s) Presentation


13.30 Tessa de Groot Introduction
13.50 Andreas Schaflitzl Limes in the woods – threats and chances
14.10 Mateja Ravnik The neverended story – told in a new way

Roman legionary camp of the Legio II Italica, Ločica near Savinja river, Slovenia

14.30 Mladen Jovicic Mortar Design for Conservation. Danube Roman Frontier 2000 Years After


15.20 Kerry Shaw Citizen Science on Hadrian’s Wall: A WallCAP Case Study
15.40 Julia Datow Ensling The German Limes Road Association – Managing Limes tourism since 1996
16.10 Riona McMorrow Engaging disadvantaged communities in heritage-led regeneration: The Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project
16.30 Mario Bloier From Theory to Practice. Weissenburg – Evaluation Report and its realisation in practice
16.50 Simon Sulk Identity through art. How Weissenburg is strengthening its role as a Roman City in modern Bavaria
17.10 Daniel Poulet Community involvement in the World Heritage Sites of Pécs (Sopianae)

Limes in the woods – threats and chances
Andreas Schaflitzl, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg

It‘s common sense that heritage sites which are situated in forests and woodlands are better preserved than sites on farmland. But does that mean the heritage is best protected from damage? And what about visibility? In fact, landuse of woodlands also causes damages on the limes. Some are natural like trees falling by storm, others are caused by harvesting with heavy machines damaging the site by driving over walls or pulling trunks through sites. Especially in succession of climate change the forests start to change their shape – where coniferes used to grow, nowadays after hot and dry summers trees are weakened and die from diseases and bugs. But as usual great disasters offer great opportunities. In forests, where large areas have to be chopped down skidder trails can be planned new so less or no damage to the heritage will take place. Trees growing on top of walls can be replaced by trees next to walls, so they cause less damage by growing and falling. Tree use concepts can also help to improve the visibility by using the right tree species: the idea of forest aisles for the visualisation lead to an overgrow of ground cover plants in the past, which make it nearly impossible to see the slight remains of trenches and walls. Great deciduous trees cast shadows so that small plants can’t grow anymore. These kinds of trees are also more resistant to arid periods and better prepared for future climate change. Such concepts have to be developed with local foresters and woodlandowners in order to get an accepted solution for the site protection, presentation and landuse. This paper wants to show case examples on the ORL in different situations and different projects and workshops together with woodworkers and foresters.

The neverended story – told in a new way. Roman legionary camp of the Legio II Italica, Ločica near Savinja river, Slovenia
Mateja Ravnik, Danijela Brišnik, Milana Klemen, Zavod za varstvo kulturne dediščine Slovenije, Območna enota Celje/Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Regional unit Celje, Jure Krajšek, Pokrajinski muzej Celje/Regional Museum of Celje

The construction of the legionary camp in Ločica near Savinja river began probably between 168/170 AD and ended 172 AD. It was mainly built for the needs of the Legia II Italica, whose task was to ensure the security of the Roman Empire on its eastern frontier, in Noric province (in so called »Military zone« Praetentura Italiae et Alpium), during frequent incursions of the Germanic tribes, especially Markomanians. From the end of the 19th century onwards, the area of the camp was explored in several excavation campaigns. Prof. dr. Franc Lorger was the first to determine the area of the camp. The last noticeable research was between 2008 and 2011 by the Archaeological Institute of the Austrian Academy in Vienna and they used non-destructive methods of archaeological survey, which resulted in the first clearly readable plan of the entire legionary camp. A wide wall with as many as 38 towers, in praetentura and retentura principia, surrounded the camp, which had two sets of military barracks for first and second cohort, a large hospital and a warehouse, a latrine and an unfinished thermae. The plan also showed a lot of undeveloped space, where other buildings (barracks, buildings for the commanders, workshops, etc.) and infrastructure (roads, a cloaca) should be built. It is believed that the legionary camp had never been completed, as the legion moved to the northern borders of the empire – to the Danube Limes (Lauriacum, Austria); and last but not least, the role of the camp as a hospital was not negligible either as “Antonine plague” broke out at the same time. In 2020 – as a part of a project to build a new road, while terminating the unsecured railway crossing in Ločica – the investor, with the help of the project designer, the IPCHS, RU Celje, Regional museum of Celje and the Municipality of Polzela decided to mark the site appropriately with information boards and prepare several activities for the popularization of cultural heritage and the recognisability of the site. In addition, a smaller scale archaeological excavation was conducted. And so, a new chapter on the legionary camp in Ločica near Savinja was written.

Mortar Design for Conservation. Danube Roman Frontier 2000 Years After
Mladen Jovičić, Emilija Nikolić, Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade, Serbia, Ivana Delić-Nikolić, Ljiljana Miličić, Institute for testing of materials (IMS Institute), Belgrade, Serbia, Snezana Vucetic, Faculty of Technology Novi Sad, Serbia

MoDeCo2000 project (2020-2022), funded by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia (PROMIS programme) is focused on the research of Roman mortars on the Serbian part of the Danube Limes. The project aims to study raw materials as well as the technologies of making lime mortars used during the construction works, trying to reveal different aspects of life on the frontier during centuries. The samples refer mostly to the bedding and wall-core mortars but also rendering and flooring mortars from 23 archaeological sites on the right bank of the Danube, which belonged to the provinces of Moesia Superior and Pannonia Inferior during the Roman Empire, and Moesia Prima, Pannonia Secunda, and Dacia Ripensis during Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium, spreading to the period from the 1st to the 6th century. The character of the sampled buildings covers both the military aspect (legionary fortresses, auxiliary forts, and smaller fortifications), and the civilian aspect (baths, villas, palace, basilica, city rampart, and tombs) with the most exceptional of all, the Trajan’s Bridge over the Danube. After fieldwork, the samples were examined in the laboratories using contemporary techniques and knowledge from geology, chemistry, archaeology, architecture, and civil engineering, obtaining data on materials and technologies used during the ancient construction. Based on these results, the design of the lime mortars for conservation, using the achievements of the materials science and engineering has been conducted, with the aim to create conservation recommendations during the preservation of the future UNESCO property “Frontiers of the Roman Empire – Danube Limes (Serbia)”, as a part of its nomination dossier. The proposed mortar design should greatly contribute to the improvement of conservation science and practice in Serbia, being the first comprehensive research and scientific project in the region dealing with the everlasting topic of the Roman mortars.

Citizen Science on Hadrian’s Wall: A WallCAP Case Study
Kerry Shaw, University of Newcastle (UK)

With citizen science becoming increasingly popular as a methodology linking archaeological research and meaningful participation by local communities, how can we extend engagement and ensure best practice to maximise the potential for both parties when taking a participatory approach to research. The Hadrian’s Wall Community Archaeology Project (WallCAP), funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (UK) and hosted by Newcastle University, must include high levels of community involvement to meet funder requirements whilst also undertaking structured and professional archaeological investigation and intervention. Initially, high public participation in archaeological research of a World Heritage Site may seem difficult or contradictory – can all stakeholders be satisfied with such an approach? Can participative, collaborative and co-curated research successfully blend the needs of both local host populations, heritage managers, and the archaeology. While addressing specific management concerns such as heritage at risk and research questions pertaining to stone biographies along Hadrian’s Wall, WallCAP has also incorporated local communities in training, fieldwork, events, consultations and exhibitions. As a result, the project has successfully generated reliable and reputable archaeological data, tackled heritage conservation concerns, and enhanced public engagement with the monument. These successes and lessons learned by WallCAP will be reviewed, including the strategies employed for both worthwhile community engagement and robust archaeological research. It will explore aspirations vs reality though an honest appraisal of project activity when generating vital data for heritage managers and researchers whilst also enabling local communities in exercising their roles as active stakeholders in the WHS.

The German Limes Road Association – Managing Limes tourism since 1996
Julia Datow-Ensling, Carola Moser, German Limes Road Association

The German Limes Road Association is an independent, non-profit-making, comprehensive umbrella organisation for communities along the Limes and official partner of the German UNESCO World Heritage Sites Association. In its 26th year of existence, the German Limes Road association counts more than 90 municipalities, districts and tourist communities in four German federal states among its members – from small communities up to districts with more than 400.000 inhabitants. Application for membership is possible for every community along the Limes. The association aims at drawing attention to the Limes and promoting tourism on the trails of the Romans. To this end, the German Limes Road, the German Limes Cycle Path and the German Limes Hiking Trail were established. However, the association is not interested in mass tourism but in sustainable travelling with a focus on the preservation and appreciation of the world heritage. Thus, the association is in permanent touch with the German Limes Commission as well as with the federal Limes Coordinators, asking them for their expertise and inviting them to present their research at the association’s assemblies. The paper will present the association’s structure and network by discussing the following topics:

    1. How does the association manage three touristic routes, each more than 800 km long and crossing the borders between four federal states, as well as the communities along these routes? How does it live up to its many different members‘ needs and expectations?
    2. How can the communities be involved and encouraged to take care of the world heritage and to make it better known to locals as well as to tourists? What kind of support does the association provide?
    3. How does the association create a connection between tourists, museums and the archaeological remains outside? How does it contribute to making the archaeological remains comprehensible?

Engaging disadvantaged communities in heritage-led regeneration: The Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project
Riona McMorrow,West Dunbartonshire Council

The Antonine Wall, established as part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site since 2008,  runs through a diverse landscape of urban, post-industrial, semi-rural and rural settlements in central Scotland.  Many areas experience very high levels of deprivation, and the route of the Wall means that many of these communities (ranking high on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) live very close to the Wall. In 2018, a £2.1m project, Rediscovering the Antonine Wall, was launched to enable the partners to both raise awareness of the Wall with a wider audience and to specifically increase the relevance of the monument to the local communities living along its length, particularly those less likely to traditionally engage with heritage. This paper will address how the management, promotion and enhancement of a World Heritage Site can be used to engage those who have no interest in heritage.   It will demonstrate how a 37 mile turf mound, only visible in a limited number of locations, can act as a catalyst to regenerate post-industrial and ex-mining communities.   And how  a relatively modest £2.1m budget split across five municipal areas can be utilised effectively to turn what was once a divisive structure into a focus for collaboration and bringing communities together. This paper will consider the varied approaches the project has taken to engaging as wide an audience as possible, regardless of background.  It will summarise these approaches, showcasing examples of how this has successfully made heritage accessible to all, including those that did not wish to engage or felt heritage wasn’t relevant to their lives.  It will highlight how capital projects such as large sculptures and Roman themed playparks have created destinations in previously overlooked areas.  It will also introduce some ‘lessons learned’ and offer best practice recommendations applicable to other sites.

From Theory to Practice. Weissenburg – Evaluation Report and its realisation in practise
Mario Bloier, Museen Weißenburg

In November 2010 colleagues from former Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Limited (HWHL) visited for several days Weißenburg. The client group – consitsting of Weissenburg Museums, Bavarian State Conservation Office and Bavarian Office for Non State Owned Museums – decided that HWHL would be able to draw on experience gained in the development and promotion of tourism facilities associated with the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site in England in order to advise on the approach being taken in Weissenburg. It was considered a good idea to commission HWHL to carry out an evaluation of the tourism sites and facilities in and around Weissenburg, offer an impartial view of the way they operate and make recommendations on potential improvements. During this initial visit it was suggested that Weissenburg Council set up a steering group to take forward the recommendations that would come out of the project. The HWHL team also suggested that a workshop with Weissenburg Council staff and other interested parties would assist the process of the evaluation and development of recommendations. In particular the workshop would enable the HWHL team to test and develop emerging ideas with key stakeholders and enable the lead partners to gain ownership of and commitment to the resulting proposals. The Weissenburg Council and the Co-ordination Unit agreed to host a workshop, which was held over three days in February 2011. A final report was published March 2011. It included an evaluation of the key components of Weissenburg’s tourism, key examples of international good practice, an outline of a new vision for Weissenburg as a focus for introducing visitors to the story of the Bavarian Raetian Limes, proposals for improvements and developments to realise the vision. The paper will pinpoint the key aspects of the evaluation and demonstrate its ongoing, attempts, failures and pushback by varying vagaries.

Identity through art. How Weissenburg is strengthening its role as a Roman City in modern Bavaria
Simon Sulk, Bavarian State Conservation Office

Weissenburg is one of the most important “Roman Cities” in Bavaria. Above all, the Roman Museum, as a central museum for the roman Limes in Bavaria, and the affiliated Limes-Information Centre show the importance of the roman past for the city that itself takes for granted. Regrettably, the role as a “Römerstadt” is not broadly appreciated by the citizens. Being part of the touristic highly developed regions, the “Fränkisches Seenland” (Franconian Lake District) and the “Naturpark Altmühltal” (Altmühl Valley Nature Parc), tourism is of important significance for the city. To make the role of the roman period more present and tangible in the city, the newly established City Marketing is trying via several projects to increase the public awareness for its historical heritage. The attempt is more a low-threshold than scientific approach. In 2015, the local artist, Roland Ottinger, created a colossal face mask of a roman horseman, inspired by the find of the so-called Weissenburger Römerschatz, a treasure containing three decorated helmet masks from the 3rd century. It was placed at the state highway to attract attention to the roman Weissenburg. The motif of the face mask was renewed in 2021, when the City Marketing, supported by local sponsorship, ordered a smaller copy. It was placed vis-à-vis the train station so that, not only motorists, but also train passengers are made aware of Weissenburg’s roman past. In addition, the connection between the various roman sites, the roman auxiliary fort and the bath house with the historic settlement where the roman museum is located, was put into focus. The internationally known artist, HOMBRE, created an oversized piece of graffiti in the railway underpass, which is the official route for pedestrians between the roman attractions. This project was also sponsored and developed through local engagement. In 2022, it is planned to use the recognition value of the face masks for a project with schools, homes for the handicapped and community organisations. Miniatures of the masks will be provided to these groups for use in creating their own displays, which in turn might be displayed at a prominent location, such as the roman fort, Biriciana, or the town hall. It is obvious, that the potential of the roman heritage in Weissenburg is far from being exhausted.

Community involvement in the World Heritage Sites of Pécs (Sopianae)
Daniel Poulet, Zsolnay Heritage Management Nonprofit Ltd.

A part of the late Roman, early Christian northern cemetery of Sopianae, the Roman predecessor of the city of Pécs, was added to the World Heritage Sites list in 2000. The site earned the cultural-historical treasure rating on the grounds that the architecture and mural painting of the excavated finds illustrate the early Christian burial architecture and art of the northern and western provinces of the Roman Empire in an extremely versatile and complex way. It is a popular form of genre, also known as living history or live interpretation, for an experience-oriented and at the same time entertaining presentation of heritage sites. In the project, the values of heritage were presented by a company using the improvisational theater genre, whose members conveyed the knowledge and stories related to the memories by shaping people living in Roman times connected to the World Heritage sites of Pécs and including them in a professionally authentic framework. The live-action scenes, which deal with the themes of architecture and mural painting, also included an interactive presentation of religion, Roman gastronomy and dressing habits, and late Roman burial forms. Great emphasis was placed on the active involvement of the visitors and the experience of joint creation, so that the audience can experience the ancient history of the city of Pécs by taking on the roles that shape the story and act. The various museum pedagogical methods offer many ways and opportunities to create activity and experiential knowledge transfer. We also use traditional and innovative techniques and methods during developing workshops. As a development of the innovative method, our local history board game, Every Age of Pécs, was completed. The game is designed for World Heritage Sites, where students can relive the different historical periods of Pécs by playing during the sessions.