History of the Antonine Wall
The Antonine Way links Bo’ness on the River Forth with Old Kilpatrick just outside Glasgow on the River Clyde. There are various sections of the ‘Wall’ still available to view along the 37 mile trail – it passes very close to the Falkirk Wheel – another monument albeit a little bit more modern.
The Antonine Wall, begun in AD 142 during the reign of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius , consisted of a turf rampart set on a stone foundation stretching 37 miles across central Scotland. A broad ditch was dug in front of the Wall as part of the overall defenses, and the fill from this ditch formed a low mound to the north.
To the south, a road called the Military Way ran behind the wall. The barrier, built from east to west, stretched between the Firth of Forth at Bo’ness and the mouth of the River Clyde at Old Kilpatrick. This fascinating monument brings history to life and provides an insight into Scotland, its people and the way their culture has been formed over many centuries.
Once the Roman Empire’s most northern frontier in Britain, the Antonine Wall became the UK’s official nominations for World Heritage Status for 2008. The nomination documentation was submitted to UNESCO in late January 2007. A decision will be made by the World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Canada in July 2008.
The bid has been successful and the Antonine Wall achieved World Heritage Site Status on 7th July 2008.
Who Looks After The Wall?
Nearly 8 km of the Wall is in the care of Historic Scotland, including the best surviving stretch of ditch at Watling Lodge, Falkirk; the earthworks of the fort together with the rampart ditch and Military Way at Rough Castle, Bonnybridge; the rampart and ditch in Seabegs Wood, Bonnybridge; the ditch and expansions on Croy Hill; the fort on Bar Hill, Twechar; and the bath-house and latrine at Bearsden. Several lengths of the Wall are in the ownership of local authorities including: the fort site at Kirkintilloch, the rampart base in New Kilpatrick Cemetery, Bearsden, and Roman Park, Bearsden (East Dunbartonshire Council); the fortlet at Kinneil, Bo’ness, and several lengths of the ditch including Callendar Park (Falkirk Council); Castlecary (North Lanarkshire Council); and the fort-site and rampart base at Duntocher (West Dunbartonshire Council).
Most of the inscriptions from the Antonine Wall are either in the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow or the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Other artefacts are on display in Kinneil Museum, Bo’ness, the Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch and Callendar House Museum in Falkirk.