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 existing farm buildings occupy the fort’s north-east quadrant. The Antonine Wall Rampart and Ditch composed the fort’s northern defences, while a turf rampart and double ditches marked the fort’s east, south, and west sides (an additional short section of a third ditch is located north of the fort’s west gate). The Antonine Wall Rampart had a stone base measuring 4.3m wide, while the Ditch measured about 12m wide. The fort’s other ramparts were likewise constructed atop a stone base, about 4.8m wide everywhere except for on the southeast, where it measured only 4.3m. The fort featured four gates, with the east and west gates located approximately one-third of the distance between the Antonine Wall Rampart and the fort’s south rampart; the Military Way crossed the fort through these gates.

Excavation has revealed that the Antonine Wall Rampart base was constructed before the fort’s other ramparts, suggesting that the fort was secondary (not part of the original plan for the frontier), but it remains unclear if a gap in the Rampart’s base at the fort’s north gate was made during the Rampart’s construction, or was made when the fort was added later.

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Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.