Olympics culture plans must include Antonine Wall

Jo has supported the Antonine Wall’s World Heritage Status bid, alongside local organisations like the Auld Kirk Museum

The Antonine Wall should be incorporated into the Cultural Olympiad that will take place in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, Jo Swinson has said.

Jo has written to Bill Morris, Director of Culture for the 2012 Olympics, to press for the Antonine Wall to be central to plans for the UK Cultural Festival. The Festival will encompass thousands of local and regional events across the UK from next Summer through to the Games in 2012.

Jo made the call to coincide with the Antonine Wall’s evaluation for World Heritage Site status. UNESCO site evaluator Zsolt Visy visited East Dunbartonshire earlier this month to assess the Antonine Wall and will now prepare a report to be considered by the World Heritage bid committee.

Jo said:

“By the time of the 2012 Olympics, East Dunbartonshire should be able to boast of being home to one the UK’s newest World Heritage Sites.

“The Cultural Olympiad will bring a welcome boost to culture and tourism throughout the UK. I have written today to the 2012 Director of Culture to stress the point that, as one of the UK’s most significant cultural landmarks, the Antonine Wall should be given a central role in the celebrations.

“With the site visit now having taken place, it is up to the UNESCO evaluator to write his report for consideration by the bid committee, ahead of their final decision on the wall’s World Heritage bid next Summer. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for a successful outcome.”

The current World Heritage Site for ‘Borders of the Roman Empire’ consists of Hadrians Wall, denoted in 1987, and the German frontier, denoted in 2005. The Antonine Wall has been nominated as an extension to the current site, with the long-term goal being to denote all borders as World Heritage Sites, including sites in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia.

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