1 Overview

The Antonine Wall was the most northerly frontier of the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago. It ran for 40 Roman miles (60km) from modern Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. At the time it was built, the wall was the most complex frontier ever constructed by the Roman army.

Built on the orders of the Emperor Antoninus Pius in the years following AD 140, the wall was both a physical barrier and a symbol of the Roman Empire’s power and control.

It was never a stone wall. The Antonine Wall was a turf rampart fronted by a wide and deep ditch. Forts and fortlets along the wall housed the troops stationed at the frontier. They also acted as secure crossing points to control movement north and south. A road known as the Military Way ran behind the rampart, linking the forts.

The Antonine Wall was the last linear frontier built by the Romans. It was only occupied for about a generation before being abandoned in the AD 160s.

The line of the wall crosses five modern local authorities:

  • East Dunbartonshire
  • Falkirk
  • Glasgow
  • North Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire

There are a number of sites and museums in each of these areas.

Find out more by visiting the dedicated Antonine Wall website.

Location

The Antonine Wall runs across central Scotland, from Old Kilpatrick in the west to Bo’ness in the east.

Contact

The Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Coordinator
Historic Environment Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Edinburgh
EH9 1SH

Email: worldheritage@hes.scot

2 Inscription and significance

The Antonine Wall was inscribed by UNESCO in 2008, to become part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site. This already included Hadrian’s Wall (inscribed in 1987) and the German Limes (inscribed in 2005).

The Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site lies in the survival of the 2nd-century Roman frontier system across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. This reflects the development and breadth of Roman military architecture and power.

The Antonine Wall:

  • incorporates many technical and design elements not seen in earlier frontiers
  • represents a physical manifestation of a change in Roman imperial foreign policy
  • illustrates the technological skill of the army in frontier areas

The Antonine Wall World Heritage Site: Statement of Outstanding Universal Value is currently in development.

3 Visit the Antonine Wall

Nearly 8km of the Antonine Wall is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

This includes the:

Local authorities own several lengths of the wall, including:

  • the fort site at Kirkintilloch and the rampart base in New Kilpatrick Cemetery, Bearsden (East Dunbartonshire Council)
  • the fortlet at Kinneil, Bo’ness and several lengths of the ditch including Callendar Park (Falkirk Council)
  • Cleddans Burn (Glasgow City Council)
  • Castlecary (North Lanarkshire Council)
  • the fort-site and rampart base at Duntocher (West Dunbartonshire Council)

Find images, 3D scans and more on the dedicated Antonine Wall website

Download the Antonine Wall leaflet

The Antonine Wall (English)
The Antonine Wall (French)
The Antonine Wall (Gaelic)
The Antonine Wall (German)

4 Management of the Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall is managed and cared for by:

Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and management plan

Each World Heritage Site has a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, which:

  • clearly states the reasons for the site’s inscription on the World Heritage List
  • identifies what must be protected, conserved and managed to protect its Outstanding Universal Value for the long term

UNESCO also requires each site to have a management plan. This provides a shared framework for a site’s active:

  • conservation
  • management
  • enhancement

Supplementary Planning Guidance has been produced and adopted by all five of the local authorities involved in managing the Antonine Wall. There is also an Interpretation Plan and Access Strategy.

The Antonine Wall World Heritage Site: Statement of Outstanding Universal Value is currently in development.

Download the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site: The Antonine Wall Management Plan 2014–19 [PDF, 5.86MB]

Download the Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Antonine Wall) World Heritage Site Supplementary Planning Guidance [PDF, 7.1MB]

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