NGRef: NS6774
OSMap: LR64
Type: Antonine Wall Fort, Fort

Roads
Antonine Wall: E (2) to Bar Hill (Strathclyde)
Antonine Wall: W (1.75) to Kirkintilloch (Strathclyde)

The Auchendavy Antonine Fort

The outline of the Antonine fort at Auchendavy is not fully traced. It was detached from the Wall and situated a little to the south of the earthworks on a northward jutting promontory overlooking the River Kelvin. The fort is located just north of the Harestanes area of Kirkintilloch, and is still visible even now as a raised earthwork south of the B8023 secondary road, sandwiched between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the road itself. The ditches of the fort were visible in the fields as "canals" up until about 1825, when the landowner levelled the ground and removed almost all traces of the defences. The fort measured about 370 ft. by 330 ft. (c.113 x 101 m) thus enclosing an occupation area of about 2¾ acres (c.1.1 ha).

A single coin has been reported at Auchendavy, a gold solidus of Trajan dated to 101/2AD which was "rediscovered" by staff at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh; its provenance is uncertain. A rubbish-pit uncovered by workmen constructing the Forth and Clyde Canal in May 1771 containd four (and a half) altarstones and 'two huge iron mallets'. Also reported among the finds recovered over the years are a number of pyramidal piles of rounded stones, around fifty in number, probably ammunition for onagri taken from the site of the fort's armamentarium. There are ten inscriptions on stone from Auchendavy recorded in the R.I.B., comprising five altarstones to various deities, four tombstones, and a building inscription, most of which are reproduced and translated on this page and discussed separately below.

The Roman Military Garrison at Auchendavy

Legio Secundae Augusta
The Second Augustan Legion

VEX LEG II AVG

"A detachment of the Second Legion Augusta [made this]."

(RIB 2180; building inscription)

In addition to the building inscription shown above there are two tombstones of former soldiers from this unit, also four out of the five altarstones recovered from the fort are dedicated by a single centurion from the legion, one Marcus Cocceius Firmus. All of this epigraphic evidence, especially the tombstones and altarstones, very likely means that a legionary cohort from the Second Augusta were garrisoned at Auchendavy, we may also assume that the centurion Firmus had been given command.

The Gods of Roman Auchendavy

Altar to Diana and Apollo

DIANAE APOLLINI M COCCEI FIRMVS > LEG II AVG

"For Diana and Apollo, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Augustan Legion."

(RIB 2174; altarstone)

Altar to Genio Terrae Britannicae

GENIO TERRAE BRITANNICAE M COCCEI FIRMVS > LEG II AVG

"To the Guardian Spirit of the Land of Britain, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Augustan Legion."

(RIB 2175; Burn 138; Ireland 375; altarstone)

Excavations over the years have revealed five altarstones at Auchendavy, for the most part dedicated to traditional Roman gods; Diana and Apollo (vide RIB 2174 supra), Jupiter and Victoria (vide RIB 2176 infra) and another to Victoria alone (vide RIB 2177 quoque infra), also an altar to Silvanus where no text is legible other than the name of the god (RIB 2178; not shown). Aside from these classical gods there is, in addition, an altar dedicated to the Spirit of Britain (vide RIB 2175 etiam supra), which is perhaps the most notable of all.

Altar to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Victory

I O M VICTORIAE VICTRICI PRO SALVTE IMP N ET SVA SVORVM M COCCEIFIRMVS > LEG II AVG

"To Jupiter Best and Greatest and to Victory, for the well-being of our emperor and his family, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Augustan Legion."

(RIB 2176; altarstone)

Altarstone RIB 2177

Altar to Many Deities

MARTI MINERVAE CAMPESTRIBVS HERCL EPONAE VICTORIAE M COCCEI FIRMVS > LEG II AVG

"To Mars, Minerva, the Campestres,¹ Hercules, Epona and Victory, Marcus Cocceius Firmus, centurion of the Second Augustan Legion."

(RIB 2177; Burn 137; ILS 4831c; CIL VII 1114; altarstone)

  1. The Campestres were the Goddesses of the Parade Ground or campus.

Roman Tombstones from Auchendavy

Perhaps the most revealing of latin texts recovered from Roman sites are those inscribed upon tombstones, and they remain a very good indication of social life, ironically. There are four Roman tombstones from Auchendavy, all are shown below.

NO... MART M AL... VICTOR MIL LEG II AVG T ALAE EX...VLERNIS

"[no... mart] Marcus Al[fenus?] Victor, a soldier of the Second Augustan Legion, a trainee of the Ala [ex...ulernis]."

(RIB 2179; tombstone)

D M FLA LVCIA NVS MILES LEG II AVG

"To the spirits of the departed and Flavius Lucianus, a soldier of the Second Augustan Legion."

(RIB 2181; tombstone)

D M SALMANES VIXIT AN XV SALMANES POSVIT

"To the spirits of the departed and Salmanes who lived for fifteen years, Salmanes [his father] made this."

(RIB 2182; Burn 136; tombstone)

D M VERECVNDAE

"To the spirits of the departed and Verecunda."

(RIB 2183; tombstone)

See: The Roman Wall in Scotland by Sir George MacDonald (Oxford, 2nd Ed. 1934) pp.285-9;
The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965);
The Romans in Britain - An Anthology of Inscriptions by A.R. Burn (Blackwell, Oxford, 1969);
Roman Britain - A Sourcebook by S. Ireland (Routlege, New York, 1986);
A Survey of the Coin Finds from the Antonine Wall by Richard Abdy in Britannia xxxiii (2002) pp.189-217;
All English translations, including any inherent mistakes, are my own.