The annual Big Roman Week kicks off across Falkirk district on Saturday, September 17 – with organisers promising a bumper programme for all the family.
Walks, talks, film shows, and activities for children have all been organised to help people discover their “Roman roots” and appreciate local history.
Events include a bumper Big Roman Day at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness and a community conference about the Antonine Wall at the historic Hippodrome Cinema.
The idea to launch Big Roman Week came from The Friends of Kinneil charity in Bo’ness.
Maria Ford from the group said: “The festival has become a regular fixture in the local calendar and hopefully it continues to be popular with local people and visitors for many years to come.
“We’re really grateful to Falkirk Community Trust, which has organised many of the events for the Week, as well as Falkirk Council for supporting the Festival.
“Although the festival was born in Bo’ness, we’ve always been keen to involve people right across the district.”
Find out more at www.bigromanweek.org.uk
You can also get updates via the Friends of Kinneil’s social media channels:
- The Antonine Wall was built around 142AD on the orders of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.
- The turf and stone frontier – more accurately a turf rampart fronted by a wide and deep ditch – ran from Bo’ness right through Falkirk district to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow. Along the line of the Wall were a series of forts and fortlets.
- The defensive system was designed to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule.
- The Antonine Wall covered around 40 Roman miles, with around a third of the structure being constructed in Falkirk district.
- The Wall was abandoned around AD 160, when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
- Today, many parts of the Antonine Wall lie under towns and settlements, built long after the Romans departed Scotland. However, evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.
- The local area is fortunate in having a number of highly visible parts of the Antonine Wall. As well as the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil, and a fort at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, the Antonine Wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods; Watling Lodge, Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk; Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge; and Castlecary Roman Fort. You can also see the replica of a Roman tablet at Bridgeness, Bo’ness (pictured above).
- In addition, there are free exhibitions on the Romans in local museums, Callendar House, Falkirk, and Kinneil in Bo’ness. Outside the district, there are displays in the Auld Kirk Museum in Kirkintilloch; the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow; and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
- The Wall became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2008, joining Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes frontier. It also meant that Falkirk district became home to Scotland’s fifth world heritage site.
- The Big Roman Week was launched in 2009 to celebrate the area’s Roman links. The Festival is always held around September 19 – the date of the Emperor Antoninus Pius’s birthday.
- A new website for the Wall has been launched at www.antoninewall.org … An app for smartphones is also being developed.