The Big Roman Week is an annual festival, held each September. It marks the birthday of Emperor Antoninus Pius (born 19 September 86AD) – who built his Roman frontier, The Antonine Wall, across Falkirk district. Working with partners we deliver a series of events to get people to explore and enjoy local history. The Festival is co-ordinated by volunteers from The Friends of Kinneil (with support from a number of partners).
THE ANTONINE WALL
THE ANTONINE Wall was built by the Emperor Antoninus Pius around 142 AD from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick – to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland, then under Roman rule. Unlike the stone-built Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall consisted of a rampart of soil, faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. It stood 12 feet high, and was protected on the north side by a wide, deep V-shaped ditch. It was abandoned around AD 160, when the Romans retreated to Hadrian’s Wall.
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 Bo’ness and Falkirk areas are 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 Roughcastle, near Bonnybridge, the wall can also be seen at Polmont Woods; Watling Lodge, Tamfourhill (near the Falkirk Wheel), Callendar Park in Falkirk; and Seabegs Woods, near Bonnybridge.
There are also 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.
On the Friends of Kinneil website
- Historic Scotland has published a leaflet about the Antonine Wall. You can download it in PDF format by clicking here.
- A new leaflet on the Antonine Wall has been published by Historic Scotland (July 2012). Download it in PDF format by clicking here.
- Check out a page on the Antonine Wall on the BBC website.
Discover the Antonine Wall:
- IN FALKIRK DISTRICT – on the Falkirk Community Trust website.
- IN NORTH LANARKSHIRE – on the North Lanarkshire Council website
- IN EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE – on East Dunbartonshire Culture and Leisure Trust website
- IN GLASGOW – on the Historic Glasgow website.
- IN WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE – on the West Dunbartonshire Council’s website.
Museums to visit:
- Kinneil, Bo’ness
- Callendar House, Falkirk
- Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch
- Hunterian Museum, Glasgow
- National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh