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Antonine Wall, Milnquarter, Roman temporary camp 240m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Bonnybridge and Larbert, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9931 / 55°59'35"N

Longitude: -3.8852 / 3°53'6"W

OS Eastings: 282507

OS Northings: 679399

OS Grid: NS825793

Mapcode National: GBR 1F.VH4L

Mapcode Global: WH4PT.9M5G

Entry Name: Antonine Wall, Milnquarter, Roman temporary camp 240m SE of

Scheduled Date: 13 September 1972

Last Amended: 15 December 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3242

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Falkirk

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Bonnybridge and Larbert

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Description

The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman temporary camp, visible on aerial photographs as the cropmarks of its perimeter ditch. The camp lies in pasture fields and unmanaged land approximately 240m south-east of Milnquarter. The monument was first scheduled in 1972; the present rescheduling brings the scheduling up to modern standards.

Dating to the mid-second century AD, the camp is associated with the construction of the Antonine Wall, a World Heritage Site, situated approximately 410m to the NNW. The cropmarks represent negative or buried archaeological features that retain different levels of moisture than the surrounding subsoil resulting in the variant growth of the crops above. These reveal a rectangular enclosure with four rounded corners and entrances in the NW, NE and SE sides. Titulus gateways, a short section of ditch that protected the approach to the entrance, are visible on the NW and NE sides of the camp. The monument is trisected by a modern road, a disused and now demolished railway branch line, and the embankment of an active railway line.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around in which traces of associated evidence relating to their use and construction may be expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. This scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences and modern walls within the area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

A typical Roman temporary camp comprised an open internal area where soldiers pitched tents in regularly arranged rows, enclosed by a low mound of earth topped with a palisade of sharpened stakes. Beyond the camp's rampart lay an external V-shaped ditch. This monument retains the majority of its original form, despite only being visible as a cropmark. These show that evidence of the camp's perimeter ditch still survives below the topsoil. Titulus gateways appear on the NW and NE sides of the camp and it is likely that all four entrances were protected in this way.

The cropmarks therefore indicate that this is a well-preserved monument with potential to provide high-quality archaeological evidence relating to the date, construction, occupation and abandonment of the camp, particularly from its ditch and entrances. Excavations of similar sites elsewhere in Scotland tell us that Roman temporary camps interiors also have high potential for the survival of important evidence that can tell us more about the lives of the soldiers who occupied the site, such as rubbish pits, bread ovens, latrine pits, and possibly stake-holes from tents. The significance of this monument is enhanced as it lies in an area that has undergone significant industrial development.

Contextual characteristics

The camp provided temporary accommodation for Roman legionaries building the nearby stretch of the Antonine Wall and it is one of 20 such sites currently known along the line of the frontier. Archaeologists first recognised the relationship between these camps and the frontier in the 1950s when aerial photography became an important survey tool. The relationship of the camps to our understanding of the Antonine Wall is particularly important as only on this frontier can camps be directly related to the building of the frontier, our information being supplemented by the information provided on the well-known and internationally important distance slabs.

Built in the years following AD 142, the Antonine Wall represents Scotland's most significant Roman antiquity. Measuring 60km in length, the Wall spans the narrow neck of land between Bo'ness on the River Forth and Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. Incorporating a continuous system of wall and ditch, the Wall is accompanied at regular intervals by forts, fortlets and other structures linked by a road system. It is one of only three linear barriers to be found along the 2000km European frontier of the Roman Empire, the other examples being Hadrian's Wall and the Rhine limes, which are unique to Germany and Britain. As a frontier, the Antonine Wall is interpreted as a means of controlling and monitoring cross-border movement into the Roman province to the south rather than a fortification intended to repel significant invasion. However, it is likely that the frontier's physical presence in the landscape, a continuous barrier spanning central Scotland, served as a deterrent to smaller-scale raiding.

Associative characteristics

The Antonine Wall was established by the Emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138-61) after successful campaigning in AD 139-42 by the Governor of Britain, Quintus Lollius Urbicus. It replaced Hadrian's Wall as the Empire's most northerly frontier. The Wall remained in use until it was abandoned, possibly after AD 165, when the Roman army withdrew from Scotland and the frontier line shifted again to Hadrian's Wall. The construction and purpose of the Antonine Wall exemplifies the wider system of military frontier management, termed limes, which stretched over the whole of the Roman Empire.

The Antonine Wall forms an extension to the existing transnational 'Frontiers of the Roman Empire' World Heritage Site that includes the German limes and Hadrian's Wall. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee approved the addition of the Antonine Wall on 7 July 2008.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular Roman temporary camps, their date, construction, use and role within the construction of the adjacent Antonine Wall. Although no longer surviving as an upstanding earthwork, there is high potential for the preservation of important buried remains, in particular dateable organic remains, and artefactual evidence relating to the occupation of the camp. Within the camp, the potential for the survival of occupation evidence is high and such remains help inform our understanding of the lives of Roman soldiers while in the field. Organic evidence from the fill of the ditches around the camp is capable of providing information about the contemporary environment at the time of the construction of the Antonine Wall. As a group, the 20 temporary camps associated with the Antonine Wall provide an important tool to aid our understanding of the construction of the frontier. The loss of the monument would affect our understanding of the construction and use of temporary camps by the Roman army and, in particular, the relationship between temporary encampments and the construction of the Antonine Wall.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NS87NW 5.

References:

Breeze D J 2006, THE ANTONINE WALL, London: John Donald.

Cook M 2000, 'Deer's Den, Kintore', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 2000, 10-11.

Cook M 2001, 'Forest Road, Kintore', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 2001, 11.

Dunwell A and Finlayson B 1995, 'Milnquarter, Bonnybridge (Falkirk parish), Roman temporary camp', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 1995, 13.

Feachem R W 1956, 'Six Roman camps near the Antonine Wall', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 89, 329-32, 335-6.

Hanson W S and Maxwell G S 1986, ROME'S NORTH WEST FRONTIER, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

RCAHMS 1963, STIRLINGSHIRE, AN INVENTORY OF THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS, Edinburgh: HMSO, 107 No. 119.

Robertson A S and Keppie L J F 2001, THE ANTONINE WALL: A HANDBOOK TO THE SURVIVING REMAINS, Glasgow: Glasgow Archaeological Society.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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