Antonine Wall at Rough Castle, Bonnybridge looking west.

This morning, I provided a short tour from Glasgow of key sites on the 2nd century AD Antonine Wall which, for a short period of about 20 years, was the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

The Antonine Wall is named after the Emperor, Titus Aurelius Antoninus. It was built AD 139-142 and runs for 37 miles in an east-west direction linking Scotland’s east and west coasts. There may have been up to 26 forts along the wall of which 17 have been identified.

Our first stop was the fort at Barr Hill, near Twechar, N.E. of Glasgow. Access entailed an uphill climb for half a mile which provided us with the reward of views from what is the highest elevation section of the Antonine Wall. Here we were able to view the Bathhouse and HQ/Administration block.During the Roman period this fort was garrisoned by soldiers from modern-day Germany and Syria with latter being expert archers.

Next we drove east to visit Rough Castle at Bonnybridge. Here can be found one of the best preserved sections of the wall. The fort is in good condition with clearly visible defences which include ‘lilia’, a type of minefield comprising camouflaged pits within which were positioned sharpened wooden stakes. This fort includes a granary, HQ building and a commander’s house. The fort connects directly with the line of the wall and was garrisoned by troops from modern-day France.

Finally, we returned to Glasgow to visit the gallery in the Hunterian Museum which is dedicated to the Antonine Wall and where can be viewed artifacts, shrines and inscriptions from the wall.

South-facing administration and HQ block, Barr Hill Roman Fort, Antonine Wall

Bathhouse at Barr Hill Roman Fort, Antonine Wall, Scotland

‘Lilia’ at Rough Castle Roman Fort on Antonine Wall

Western defences of Rough Castle Roman Fort on Antonine Wall, Scotland

Antonine Wall, west of Rough Castle, Bonnybridge, Scotland

Antonine Wall Gallery at Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland

 

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