Yes it’s that time of year again – dust off your centurion galea and march to the most northerly Roman frontier in the UK. Big Roman Week 2013 is back and welcomes you to discover The Antonine Wall, which once ran from Bo’ness and across the Falkirk area, to Old Kilpatrick near Glasgow.
Actually, you may not need to bring your own costume as the festival, running from 14 to 22 September 2013 AD, includes events where you and your family can dress up, practice manoeuvres and even try some authentic frontier fayre!
If that all sounds like a bit of a carry on to you, then you’ll be pleased to hear that other events include guided walks along the wall, inspiring art sessions and exhibitions. There are talks and film screenings – including Carry on Cleo! Personally, I’m quite tempted by the paint a centurion class.
Many of the events and exhibitions are free and I’m hoping to head to one with my nephew who is an avid Horrible Histories fan and will be over the moon to find out about what the Romans got up to in Scotland. Even if we can’t make it this weekend, I’m sure he’d be keen to don his archaeologist’s bow tie (he does have one, and brings it out for special occasions) to visit the sites and pop in to see the long-term displays which are up in nearby museums.
Here are some of the week’s highlights:
Friday 20 September - Arts in Frame: The Antonine Wall
A showcase amazing photography taken around the wall
Saturday 21 September – the Roman encampment at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness
Come face to face with the Antonine Regiment and join in with the fun. In the evening there is a chance to the encore screening of Pompeii Live (originally screened around the UK in June) at Bo’ness Hippodrome.The film showcases the amazing Roman exhibition at the British Museum
Big Roman Week coincides with the birthday of Emperor Antoninus Pius who had the wall built to hold back Caledonian tribes from invading southern Scotland. The English Roman wall is part of the same Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site as the Antonine Wall.
Unlike Hadrian’s Wall, this one consisted of a rampart of soil, faced with turf, resting on a stone foundation. Today many parts of the Antonine Wall lie buried beneath the towns and villages of the Falkirk area, but evidence of the wall’s ramparts and buildings can still be found.
Take a walk along the wall and see what you can discover, including the remains of a fortlet at Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, a fort at Rough Castle near Bonnybridge and other evidence across the Falkirk area.
There are also free exhibitions about the Romans in both local museums and ones further afield:
Callendar House, Falkirk
Kinneil Museum, Bo’ness
Auld Kirk Museum, Kirkintilloch
Hunterian Museum, Glasgow
National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh
Keep up-to-date with Big Roman Week 2013 by following @kinneil, and using #BeingRoman