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The Clayton Collection

An archaeological appraisal of a 19th century collection of Roman artefacts from Hadrian’s Wall

Frances McIntosh
Publication Year:
205 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 36 tables, 96 figures, 23 graphs
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of Roman Britain, 1
BAR number:


This book examines the archaeological material from Hadrian’s Wall within the significant Clayton Collection. The Collection was formed through the work of John Clayton, antiquarian and landowner, in the 19th century. His work took place at a pivotal time in the study of Hadrian’s Wall, as public interest was growing, access was improving, and the discipline of archaeology was developing. As part of a large network of antiquarians, Clayton excavated, studied and published his discoveries. After his death, his archaeological estate was retained, and the Collection was moved into a museum in 1896. Despite being in the public domain for so long, the material has never been studied as a whole, or in the light of its 19th century creation. This work is the first to bring together the history and development of the collection alongside the material itself. It offers an insight into how important antiquarian collections can provide valuable information about Roman life.

Dr Frances McIntosh received her BA in Archaeology from Durham University. She worked for the Portable Antiquities Scheme before researching Wirral brooches at Newcastle University for her MLitt. She completed her PhD on the Clayton Collection in 2017. Her research interests include Roman material culture and 19th century antiquarianism. She currently works as a Collections Curator for English Heritage on Hadrian’s Wall and the North East.

‘This volume is a foundation reference book for the Clayton Collection and represents a monumental hidden curatorial effort (of a type that is increasingly hard for museums to devote time to or fund) to document and reconcile the collection’s objects and records’ Elsa Price, Britannia Vol 52, December 2021

‘The Clayton Collection is an important and old collection, but one which is not widely understood. This work corrects that, providing a needed reference [that is] essential to understanding the historiography of the Wall. … This volume will make a lasting contribution to Hadrian’s Wall studies.’ Dr Rob Collins, Newcastle University

‘This is a thorough and insightful survey of a really important archaeological collection. … There is a substantial body of new data and interpretation in this volume that [will make it] vitally important to the subject area of Roman military frontiers/Hadrian’s Wall.’ Prof. Richard Hingley, Durham University

‘The research presented is of the highest standard. The inclusion of the collecting histories and collection artefact type syntheses in a single volume is complementary and adds to the considerable significance of both elements.’ Dr Mark Lewis, Senior Curator (Roman), National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon

Table of Contents (B646_9781407321479_ToC.pdf, 373 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B646_9781407321479_Introduction.pdf, 546 Kb) [Download]