Roman Sites in Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.