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Antonine Wall -
The Romans in Scotland
 
Plaque at KinneilAntonine Wall (or the Wall of Lollius Urbicus) connected the forts built between the Clyde and the Forth. It is thought that number 24 was at Inveravon, 25 at Kinneil and 26 at Carriden. About 60 kilometres in length it was garrisoned by approximately 30,000 men.

Hadrian's Wall had 83 soldiers per kilometres and it had 12,000 men man the wall with a further 8,000 in forward Forts and in reserve. It is thought the Antonine Wall had 300 men every Kilometre thus there would have been about 20,000 manning the Wall at any given time. To man Forward garrisons and also have soldiers in reserve a figure of 30,000 is reasonable, but some estimate that it may have been 50,000.

The Known forts along Antonine Wall are: 1 Bishopton, 2 Old Kilpatrick, 3 Dutocher, 4 Cleddans (fortlet), 5 Castilehill, 6 Bearsden, 7 Summerston, 8 Balmuidy, 9 Wilderness Plantation (fortlet), 10 Cadder, 11 Glasgow Bridge (fortlet), 12 Bar Hill, 15 Croy Hill, 16 Westerwood, 17 Castecary, 18 Seabags (fortlet), 19 Rough Castle, 20 Watling Lodge, 21 Camlon, 22 Falkirk, 23 Mumrills, 24 Inveravon, 25 Kinneil (fortlet), 26 Carriden.

Unlike the stone built Hadrian's Wall further south, The Antonine Wall, was a rampart of soil faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It originally stood 12 feet high and was protected on the north side by a V-shaped ditch 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep. South of the wall itself ran a cobbled road, the 'Military Way', which linked a network of fortlets along the wall.

These were built on the south side of the wall. at intervals of approximately 2 miles, and acted as barracks for the troops who garrisoned the frontier. Despite passage of time, substantial lengths of this remarkable monument can still be seen today, at various sites within Falkirk District. Interpretative display panels help re-create the main features for visitors.

Antonine Wall was abandoned in 161 AD. It had been temporarily abandoned and the forts destroyed in 154-5 AD, but was quickly rebuilt and occupied until it was finally abandoned.

Note: Because the style of the Antonine Wall was not as structured as that of Hadrian's Wall, (it was not built of stone) and was only in existence for a relatively short period of time there is very little known about it by comparison. As a result there could have been more forts north and south of it that have not been detected. It is also now thought that it may have extended to at least Blackness and possibly Cramond where there is evidence of a Roman Fort.
 
Romans and Bo'ness

Although Bo'ness has never been recognised as the scene of a major battle legend has it that a great battle took place between the local natives and the Romans on Erngath Hill. Some evidence of such a conflict having taken place was found when a number of old weapons were unearthed near the supposed scene of the battle, well over 100 years ago.

Grahamsdyke

Grahamsdyke takes its name from the local connection with Antonine Wall, but it is not quite clear why. One theory is that Celtic for a place of strength was Greim, and Doig meant a mound or rampart hence the modern name Grahamsdyke. Local early 19th century historian Thomas Salmon suggested that an alternative translation for Grim should be "Bogy Man". However I like the more romantic version that it is named after a Pictish leader. His name being Grime (or Graham) he led many attacks on the wall, or dyke as it may have been known locally, and thus became a hero of the natives who inhabited the area.

Bridgeness

In 1868 a carved stone tablet was Tablet in Wall at Bridgenessunearthed with the inscription "To the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadriannus Antonoius Pius, Father of his Country, the Second Augustan Legion dedicates this, having completed 4652 paces of the Wall". Although the original tablet is now housed in the National Museum, Queen Street, Edinburgh a replica, which is now in a poor state and badly needs replaced, can be seen at Bridgeness. Other finds in this area include, Roman coins and pottery.

When miners were levelling the ground to build Bridgeness Miners Welfare Club and bowling green, about 1919, a Roman graveyard was uncovered. When the graves were opened to expose the skeletons of Roman soldier's, officials of the National Museum recovered a number of coins and other articles.

The coffins being made out of 2" thick slabs of stone were too heavy to transport and therefore still lie beneath Bridgeness Miners Welfare Club where they were found.

Kinneil FortletKinneil Fortlet

In 1978 excavations at Kinneil Estate uncovered a small Roman fortlet. The fortlet was attached to the rear of the Antonine Wall, built AD 142, and would have housed about 20 soldiers. A gravel road ran from the south to north through the fortlet with gateways at either end, the positions of which are now marked by timber posts. Within the fortlet, timber posts also mark the positions of original Roman posts, which were found during the 1981 excavation. Some finds are on display in Kinneil Museum.

Museums to Visit Include:

Glasgow Art Gallery & Museum; Hunterian Museum; Clydebank Museum; Lillic Art Gallery; Milngavie; Kylsyth's Heritage; Srathkelvin Museum, Kirkintilloch; Cumbernauld Museum; Falkirk Museum & Kinneil Museum, Bo'ness.
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