Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Antonine Wall and Military Way, 515m north of Crofthead Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Bishopbriggs North and Campsie, East Dunbartonshire

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9279 / 55°55'40"N

Longitude: -4.209 / 4°12'32"W

OS Eastings: 262080

OS Northings: 672739

OS Grid: NS620727

Mapcode National: GBR 11.ZGDY

Mapcode Global: WH4Q1.98ZG

Entry Name: Antonine Wall and Military Way, 515m N of Crofthead Cottage

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1998

Last Amended: 31 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7551

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 ditch, berm, rampart and military way. Remains of the military way and foundations of the rampart have been located through excavations while cropmarks of buried remains of the ditch appear on aerial photographs. Approximately 575m in length, this stretch of the Antonine Wall runs on a broadly E-W course through pasture from the A807 road to the south of Hungryside Bridge, along a ridge and crossing into the grounds of the Marley-Eternit factory, where it tapers in towards the Forth and Clyde Canal. The military way shadows the line of the frontier before turning south-west to bypass the fort at Cadder. The monument was first scheduled in 1998; this rescheduling is required to update the schedule to reflect development and improved knowledge of the monument through excavation.

Dating to the mid- to late 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 with a rectangular slot cut into its base. 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 remains of the Antonine Wall consist of earthworks of the buried remains of the outer mound, ditch, berm, rampart and military way. Aerial photographs record the cropmarks of the buried remains of the ditch to the east of the Marley-Eternit factory. In 1994, a construction trench cut through the line of the Antonine Wall revealing the foundation of the rampart. This comprised a single kerbstone with a spread of cobbles, the core of the rampart foundation, directly placed on the natural subsoil. Overlying the cobbles was a thick layer of compressed turfs, standing up to 0.5m above the natural subsoil, which was interpreted as the remains of the rampart superstructure. In 2001 archaeologists located the remains of a road, possibly the Roman military way, during an excavation prior to development at the Marley-Eternit factory. The road (comprising a base layer of large stones, a midlayer of smaller stones and a surface topped with gravel) was broadly consistent with Roman military roads although its width was greater than other parts of the military way. Shadowing the line of the road was a single drain, presumably to carry away water running off the road surface. In 2008, a research excavation on the W periphery of the existing scheduled area sought to locate the external bathhouse of nearby Cadder fort. Neither the bath-house nor the Antonine Wall was located. The area investigated lay approximately 80m from the site of Cadder fort, which was destroyed by quarrying in 1940-43, and it is possible that this area was also quarried but later reinstated with modern material.

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 all paths, driveways and hardstandings, and the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences, metal fences, and gates.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument comprises well-preserved stretches of the Antonine Wall and the military way. At this location, the Antonine Wall and military way have been partially excavated on three occasions. The survival of the Antonine Wall rampart is particularly significant as the area has been developed for industry and previously subjected to centuries of cultivation. The clarity of the cropmarks in the field to the east of the factory indicates that the ditch is well preserved as a buried feature, despite past cultivation, and offers the potential to provide high-quality archaeological evidence. The possible survival of a stretch of the military way, first identified in this area in 1933, is particularly significant as its remains are less robust than other elements of the Roman frontier. This section of the military way appears to bypass nearby Cadder fort because it could not run E-W through the fort. This is because Cadder's internal layout meant buildings lay across the position of the usual E-W street (the Via Principalis) found crossing the centre of most Roman forts. Instead, the military way is aligned to run past the south of the fort, with a short spur connecting the two.

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. The survival of the military way is particularly important as it has the potential to inform our understanding of the construction of Roman military roads, their maintenance and subsequent abandonment. The military way also has the potential to reveal the extent to which it continued in use following the end of the Roman military occupation of Scotland in the mid-2nd century AD. There is good potential for the recovery of environmental samples from the ancient ground surfaces sealed by the rampart foundation, the military way and from the fills of the ditch. Such information can enhance 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 is depicted as a visible earthwork on General William Roy's 1793 Military Antiquities of the Romans in North Britain. It is also shown on the Military Survey of Scotland, planned by Roy in 1747-57. Earthworks of what appears to be the ditch and outer mound appear on the 1st-3rd editions of the Ordnance Survey 1:2500 maps, covering a period of approximately 1860 to 1930, while the line of the military way partly falls within a woodland plantation dividing two fields.

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 good potential for the recovery of dateable remains and environmental samples from the fills of the ditch and from ancient ground surfaces sealed by the foundation of the rampart that would enhance our understanding of the character of the local landscape when the Antonine Wall was occupied. This stretch of the Antonine Wall represents an important survival in an area that has been subjected to several centuries of cultivation, the construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal, quarrying and the creation and development of the tile works. The survival of the rampart and military way within this industrialised setting is particularly significant, while the cropmarks of the ditch indicates the presence of well-preserved buried archaeological deposits. 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, London: John Donald.

GSB Prospection Ltd, 2006 Antonine Wall II, unpublished report for Historic Scotland, 23-27, figs 6.1, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7.

Hanson, W S and Maxwell, G S 1986 The Antonine Wall: Rome's North West Frontier, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 74.

Docherty, K, Price, E J, and Price, G J, 1972 'Seabegs Place Farm, Antonine Wall', Discovery and Excavation Scotland, 40.

Macdonald, G 1934, The Roman Wall in Scotland, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 239-40.

Price, E J and Price, G J 1973 'Seabegs Place Farm', Discovery and Excavation Scotland, 51.

Robertson, A S and Keppie, L J F 2001 The Antonine Wall: A Handbook to the Surviving Remains, Glasgow: Glasgow Archaeological Society, 36, 45, 94-6.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.