Roman Sites in Scotland

Croy Hill

On a high plateau on the east side of Croy Hill, North Lanarkshire, is the site of a Roman fort and probable temporary camp on the Antonine Wall. The fort, fortlet, and temporary camp are not visible on the ground today, but the Antonine Wall ditch is easily identifiable across much of Croy Hill. You can see where the Romans had to cut through solid rock to create the ditch. Two small raised platforms known as ‘expa ...
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: North Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Rough Castle Fort

Rough Castle Fort is a Roman fort on the Antonine Wall. The wall was built around 143 AD and stretched from Bo"ness on the River Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. The fort is the best preserved of the 19 forts constructed along the length of the Wall. Built against the southern rear face of the Wall, the fort was defended by 6 metre thick turf ramparts and surrounded by defensive ditches. Gateways were prov ...
Founded: 142 AD | Location: Falkirk, United Kingdom

Watling Lodge

Watling Lodge is perhaps the best-preserved section of Roman Antonine Wall ditch. It can be viewed to both the east and west of Watling Lodge along Tamfourhill Road in Falkirk. Here the ditch has survived to almost its original dimensions, giving the best view of how it may have looked in Roman times. Near this portion of ditch, in the garden of Watling Lodge was an Antonine Wall fortlet, but no visible traces survive. A ...
Founded: 142 AD | Location: Falkirk, United Kingdom

Castlecary Roman Fort

Castlecary is like many other settlements in the area tied to the Roman history of Scotland. The route of the Antonine Wall passes close to the village. A Roman camp existed at Castlecary, first constructed around the year 80 AD, possibly during the fourth campaign season of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Excavated in 1902, the Roman fort was probably devastated by the 2nd century. Castlecary is one of only two forts a ...
Founded: 80 AD | Location: Castlecary, United Kingdom

Bearsden Roman Baths

Bearsden's Roman Baths can be found a couple of hundred yards east, or downhill, along Roman Road from Bearsden Cross, the centre of the town. A gate in a low stone wall on your left gives access to a remarkable example of the survival of ancient archeological remains despite later development. It was part of the Antonine Wall built between AD 142 to 144. One of wall forts was sited in what is today called Bearsden. Antiq ...
Founded: 142-144 AD | Location: Bearsden, United Kingdom

Westerwood Roman Fort

At the west end of Cumbernauld Airport runway is the site of a Roman fort on the former Westerwood farm. Very little is visible on the ground today, but portions of the fort’s southern defensive ditches may be traced as subtle hollows within the field. The fort at Westerwood is the fourth smallest known along the Antonine Wall, with an internal area of about 0.8ha, situated on a steep decline toward the north. The ...
Founded: 142 AD | Location: North Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Bar Hill Fort

Bar Hill Roman Fort lies near the top of Bar Hill, in a strategic location looking north over the Kelvin Valley to the Campsie Fells. It was built as one of the forts housing troops manning the Antonine Wall, which was for a while the north-west frontier of a Roman Empire. Along with Rough Castle near Falkirk, it is one of the two best locations along the Antonine Wall to gain a real impression of what the wall was like, ...
Founded: 142-144 AD | Location: Twechar, United Kingdom

Seabegs Wood

Seabegs Wood is a woodland offering impressive views of the Antonine Wall ditch and rampart, and is also important as the site of a Roman fortlet. It is also the best place to see the visible remains of the military way, the Roman road that connected all of the forts along the Antonine Wall. The military way is located about 30m south of the Antonine Wall rampart, and can be traced as a 7m-wide cambered mound with a visib ...
Founded: 142 AD | Location: Bonnybridge, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.