The course includes a weekend day trip to the Antomine wall on Saturday 16 May 2015.  Mondays from 13th April 2015 6:30pm – 8:30pm • (5 classes) Paterson’s Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Andrew Tibb – £95

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment:  Open to all.

Content of Course

Week 1- The Empire. Examining a brief history of the Roman Empire, the Scottish Iron Age, and the Romans in Britain
Week 2 – The First Roman Invasion. Overview of the Roman Military (particularly camps, forts and indigenous interaction, the governor Agricola and his activities in Scotland, and the origins of The Gask Frontier (with a case study of Inchtuthill Legionary Fortress)
Week 3 – Withdrawing from Scotland. The Reasons that the Romans left Scotland, and what was going on elsewhere in the Empire, and an examination of Hadrian’s Wall, its origins and development up to the modern ‘rediscovery’ of the frontier.
Week 4 – Back to Scotland. TheReasons why the Romans came back to Scotland, and how this led to the construction of the Antonine Wall (origins, development & the modern period. An overview of three Roman sites on the Wall to be visited on the field trip.
Week 5 – The Final Invasion Examining the Severan invasion and what else was happening in the Empire and how did it compare in Scotland? What happened to Scotland (and Britain) once the Romans left, and the Antiquarian ‘invasion’ and more recent research.
Field Trip – The course includes a weekend day trip to the Antonine wall on Saturday 16 May 2015 (7 hours in total including travel and site visits).

  • Bar Hill (Nr Cumbernauld) Roman fort forming part of the Antonine Wall. Well-preserved, it gives the indication of the layout of a fort and demonstrates the relationship with the Antonine Wall
  • Rough Castle (Nr Bonnybridge) Stretch of well-preserved Wall, giving a clear indication of various frontier defences
  • Kinneil Fortlet (Nr Bo’ness) Remains of a fortlet, giving good idea of such structures. Additionally there is a free, adjacent museum.

Teaching method(s)

This course will offer 5 x two hour classes and a day trip. Course material will be presented using a mixture of presentation, use of various different types of evidence (written and physical), class discussion and participation. The field trip will take students to three sites previously discussed in the classroom.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify major achievements and key sites of Roman military activity in Scotland;
  • Critically examine different types of evidence (documentary and physical, primary and secondary) and draw reasonable conclusions from this;
  • Formulate and put forward an argument based on evidence.


Core Readings

Tacitus. The Agricola and the Germania. Available: accessed 25 February 2014.

Breeze, D., 2006. J. Collingwood Bruce’s Handbook to the Roman Wall 14 ed. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Woolliscroft, D.J. & Hoffmann, B., 2006. Rome’s First Frontier, Tempus Pub Limited.

Web Sources

Woolliscroft, D. J. & Hoffmann, B.. (). The Roman Gask Project. Available: Last accessed 25 February 2014.