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Antonine Wall, 320m south of Inchyra Grange Hotel

A Scheduled Monument in Lower Braes, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9952 / 55°59'42"N

Longitude: -3.7093 / 3°42'33"W

OS Eastings: 293483

OS Northings: 679343

OS Grid: NS934793

Mapcode National: GBR 1N.V6N9

Mapcode Global: WH5R0.ZKVW

Entry Name: Antonine Wall, 320m S of Inchyra Grange Hotel

Scheduled Date: 22 August 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12528

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Falkirk

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Lower Braes

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Description

The monument comprises a stretch of the Antonine Wall, a World Heritage Site, which survives as a combination of the buried remains of the berm and rampart, and the visible earthworks of the ditch. The remains of the Antonine Wall lie in a small paddock approximately 320m south of Inchyra Grange Hotel.

The monument comprises a stretch of the Antonine Wall, a World Heritage Site that survives as a combination of the buried remains of the ditch, berm and rampart, and visible earthworks of the ditch. Approximately 60m in length, this stretch of the Antonine Wall runs WSW from the boundary of Polmont Old Church across a paddock and ascends a slight incline before its line is destroyed by the cutting made for the M9 motorway. The line of the rampart was first observed in 1915 after the ploughing of the field and confirmed through trial excavation. In 1960, further excavations prior to the construction of the M9 motorway re-examined this section of the frontier. This stretch of the Antonine Wall forms part of a distinct dogleg made by the frontier as it turns toward high ground occupied by the fort at Mumrills. This section of the Antonine Wall represents an important survival as the area has undergone extensive development and intensive cultivation has destroyed parts of the Roman frontier.

Dating to the mid-second century AD, the Antonine Wall comprised five linear 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 12m wide at its maximum 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 and excavations at several locations have revealed evidence of pits. These are interpreted as a defensive feature known as 'lilia', rows of pits containing sharp wooden stakes. A cluster of lilia pits are preserved at the fort of Rough Castle. Lilia pits were probably disguised and arranged in off-set rows to prevent attackers running straight across. 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 a single course of 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 location, the Antonine Wall survives as the buried remains of the ditch, berm and rampart while the line of the ditch remains visible as a pronounced hollow.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which related remains may be expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all of the following to allow for their maintenance: the animal shelter and its concrete base in the NE corner of the paddock; the boundary wall of the cemetery; and all 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 partially excavated. The line of the ditch remains a visible landscape feature suggesting good potential for the preservation of archaeological deposits within its fill. The rampart survives as a buried feature, having been located through excavations in 1915 and 1960 where evidence for the turf superstructure was observed. In addition, the 1960 excavation also recovered evidence relating to the construction of the wall-base in the form of mason's chippings, showing that the kerbstones of the rampart had been roughly dressed on the spot.

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. There is excellent potential for the recovery of environmental samples from the fills of the ditch and from ancient ground surfaces sealed by remains of the rampart. Such evidence offers excellent potential to enhance our knowledge of the local landscape when the Antonine Wall was built and in use.

Contextual characteristics

The Antonine Wall, established in the years following AD 142, 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. 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 in the years after AD 158, 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.

This section of the Antonine Wall appears on the several early maps of Scotland, notably those of Blaeu (1658), Roy (1747-55) and Moll (1745). Blaeu's map annotates the line of the Wall as 'Vestigia valli Romanorum quod videtur Agricolam aut Adrianum Primum posuisse' ('the remains of the Roman fortification which it seems Agricola or Hadrian first built'), a reminder that it was not until the 1690s that scholars were agreed upon the date, provenance and even location of the Antonine Wall.

National Importance

The monument is nationally important 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 ancient ground surfaces sealed by remains of the rampart and from the fills of the ditch. Such evidence has the capacity to enhance our understanding of the character of the local landscape when the Antonine Wall was occupied. The survival of a section of ditch as an earthwork feature and the lack of industrial development significantly enhance the importance and archaeological potential of this monument. The loss of the monument would affect 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, John Donald: Edinburgh.

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

Macdonald, G 1915, 'Some recent discoveries on the line of the Antonine Wall', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 49, 135-36.

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

Steer, K A 1961, 'Excavations on the Antonine Wall in Polmont Park and at Dean House', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 94.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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