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Antonine Wall, 375m south of Hungryside to 55m NNE of Leafield

A Scheduled Monument in Bishopbriggs North and Campsie, East Dunbartonshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9292 / 55°55'45"N

Longitude: -4.1969 / 4°11'48"W

OS Eastings: 262842

OS Northings: 672866

OS Grid: NS628728

Mapcode National: GBR 11.ZK3P

Mapcode Global: WH4Q1.H7QD

Entry Name: Antonine Wall, 375m S of Hungryside to 55m NNE of Leafield

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1998

Last Amended: 25 June 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7553

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Cadder

County: East Dunbartonshire

Electoral Ward: Bishopbriggs North and Campsie

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Description

The monument comprises a stretch of the Antonine Wall surviving as buried remains of the outer mound, ditch, berm and rampart located through trial excavation and aerial photography. Approximately 675m in length, this stretch of the Antonine Wall immediately north of the modern A803 road. The monument was first scheduled in 1999 but the scheduling does not reflect subsequent development within the scheduled area; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

Dating to the mid-second century AD, the Antonine Wall comprised five elements: an outer mound, a broad V-shaped ditch, an open area of ground, the rampart and an associated road known as the Military Way. In general the Wall ditch was a broad and V-profiled earthwork, measuring approximately 12m in width and around 3.6m in depth. The outer mound was formed with upcast on the N lip of the ditch that created an additional obstacle and heightened the N slope of the ditch. An open area of ground, known as the berm, separated the ditch from the rampart. The rampart was constructed of turf blocks standing on a stone base around 4.3m in width. From Falkirk to Bo'ness, the rampart was composed of an earth core faced with clay cheeks. Generally, the stone base comprised roughly squared outer kerbs with a rubble core and incorporated culverts, box-like stone-lined channels that allowed water to drain through the rampart more efficiently.

At this site, the Antonine Wall consists of the buried remains of the outer mound, ditch, berm and rampart. Although there are no surface remains the line of the ditch is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs of the monument. These 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 three discontinuous sections of the ditch that are approximately 320m, 155m and 230m long. In 1998, an excavation ahead of pipe-laying revealed the stone base of the rampart as a band of cobbles and boulders up to 2.8m wide. The ditch, located approximately 8m to the north of the rampart, was found to be up to 5.8m wide and about 2.5m deep. However, the ditch appeared to have been truncated by past cultivation and was more likely to have reached a surface width of around 10m. While no structural remains of the outer mound survived, its line was preserved as an impression in the subsoil.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. To allow for their maintenance, the scheduling specifically excludes the upper 300mm of the carpark, the above-ground elements of all timber telegraph poles, post-and-wire and timber fences.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a well-preserved part of the Antonine Wall that has been partly excavated. Until recently, the ditch survived as a faint hollow running across the arable fields and aerial photography has recorded good cropmark evidence of its course. Excavation in 1998 revealed the stone foundation of the rampart, with scanty traces of the turf superstructure, the berm, ditch and traces of the outer mound. On analysis, organic deposits from the fill of the ditch yielded valuable environmental evidence relating to local conditions and the change in land-use for about 600 years following the construction of the Antonine Wall.

The monument possesses good potential to provide high-quality archaeological evidence relating to the date, construction, maintenance and subsequent abandonment of the Antonine Wall and Roman frontier systems in general. As indicated by excavations in 1998, there is excellent potential for the survival of environmental samples that can improve our knowledge of the local landscape when the Antonine Wall was built and in use.

Contextual characteristics

The Antonine Wall, established in the early 140s AD, 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 and fortlets linked by a road system. Archaeologists believe the layout of the frontier underwent alteration either during or immediately after construction with more forts being added, reducing the distance between garrisons. The Wall 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, and these are unique to Germany and Britain. However, the Antonine Wall is unique in the disposition of its forts at such close intervals and in the use of a turf superstructure on a stone foundation, an adaptation unparalleled elsewhere in the Roman Empire.

Like other Roman frontiers, the Antonine Wall was intended to control and monitor cross-border movement into Roman-controlled territory rather than acting as a fortification to halt massed attack. However, it is likely that the frontier's physical presence in the landscape, a continuous barrier spanning central Scotland, discouraged small-scale local raiding.

The Antonine Wall has a close relationship with the topography of central Scotland. Much of the frontier occupies the southern edge of the valley formed by the Rivers Kelvin and Carron, a position that offered the Antonine Wall wide-ranging views over the Kilsyth Hills, the Campsie Fells and Kilpatrick Hills and meant that it was widely visible in the landscape. The route of the Antonine Wall also has commanding views over natural communication routes.

The Antonine Wall formed part of the wider Roman reoccupation of Scotland. This comprises a web of roads interconnecting the forts and fortlets controlling the area to the south of the Wall. To the north of the frontier a chain of outpost forts, linked by a road, extended from Camelon on the outskirts of Falkirk to Bertha on the outskirts of Perth.

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. UNESCO approved the addition of the Antonine Wall on 7 July 2008.

This stretch of the Antonine Wall appears as a visible earthwork on General William Roy's 1747 Military Map of Scotland. Roy also depicts the frontier as a visible feature in 'Military Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain', published posthumously in 1793. The ditch is depicted as a visible feature on the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Ordnance Survey 1:2500 maps. Sir George Macdonald, writing in 1934, noted that the ditch was still visible as a faint hollow.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular the Antonine Wall and the character of Roman frontier systems more generally. The monument has high potential to add to our understanding of the dating, construction, maintenance and subsequent abandonment of the Antonine Wall. There is excellent potential for the recovery of dateable remains and environmental samples from ancient ground surfaces sealed by the rampart and from the fills of the ditch, as demonstrated during excavations in 1998. This evidence has the capacity to enhance our understanding of the character of the local landscape when the Antonine Wall was occupied. Although no longer visible, this stretch of the Antonine Wall survives as well-preserved buried remains, located through excavation and as cropmarks visible on aerial photography, and represents an important survival in a landscape that has undergone intensive arable cultivation for several centuries. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the frontier and would erode the overall importance of the Antonine Wall as a single linear monument spanning central Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

References

Breeze, D J, 2006 The Antonine Wall, Edinburgh: John Donald.

Dunwell, A and Coles, G 1998, 'Archaeological and palynological investigations on the Antonine Wall near Glasgow Bridge, Kirkintilloch', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 128, 461-79.

Hanson, W S and Maxwell, G S 1986, The Antonine Wall: Rome's North West Frontier, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Macdonald, G 1934, The Roman Wall in Scotland (2nd Ed), 105-111, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Keppie, L J F 1990, Scotland's Roman Remains, Edinburgh: John Donald.

Roy, W 1793, The Military Remains of the Romans in North Britain, London: Bullmer and Co/Society of Antiquaries of London, pl. 35.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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