It’s been a long winter here, with a good chunk of it spent far away. Nevertheless, it was already high time to get back to Hadrian’s Wall when this came around:
The perfect reason to get back out there and on the ground. My last visit to any part of the Wall was last fall when a few fellow American archaeologists – James and Anna – showed up in North Tyneside for a TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) conference being held down in Durham. We ended up over at Segedunum (I’d never been) and were blown away by how cool it all was. The simple fact that they have an observation TOWER to check out the foundations of the ancient fort is pretty stellar, and then when you get up to take a look there’s this time lapse video that will blow your mind. Right on.
Anyway, this illumination deal. Seemed like a cool idea and certainly an ambitious undertaking so Meryl and I made plans to check it out. In the end we didn’t overlap a great deal with the activities that were going on as one more or less had to make a choice about where to be when the actual “lighting” of the wall took place. For that we chose the ending point, Carlisle. However, we did work our way across the Wall during the course of an afternoon, checking out a few choice spots and shooting this video:
Note: A very special thanks to Kraus of New Zealand for providing the excellent backing track, Happening for Lulu from his album Golden Treasury.
Photographically, the day was an interesting mix of things. As usual time went by fast. Throwing the video element into things certainly added another level of complexity, and of course there were all the typical sidetracks to explore out there. However, it was another excellent sort of scouting day. I feel like I’m getting to know the geography of the Wall reasonably well, with the exception of its far western extent. As far as the images go, you can be the judge. I enjoyed getting a better look at the remnants of the Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne and there was some wild stuff to be seen in Carlisle having to do with the parade, but I certainly wasn’t able to piece together any kind of comprehensive visual narrative for the day. Should have brought the helicopter…
Overall, the event seemed to go off quite well, with a real mix of people involved. From passive observers to zealous performers one certainly can’t argue against the notion that the event became a part of a lot of people’s lives. And for something that is conceptualized around, and “built” directly upon an archaeological monument that is exciting to see. It references the intangible attraction that resides in ancient things and ideas – who knows exactly what it is but people certainly respond. Making the imagery that we did was also a good step towards the bigger project of Hadrian’s Wall, watch this space.
And there was little doubt that it was a killer day to be out and about. The sun was shining and the late light was primo. I’d love to see more images of the day and hear accounts of what people got up to photographically. If you have an image, a set of images, and/or comments please share them on the Living Exposed Facebook page or if it’s just a comment feel free to leave it here. The only question that remains is, will Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall really just be a one-time event? Somehow I doubt it…
PS: A video of the aerial footage from the day: