NGRef: !NS 91850 79430
Type: Fort, Camp
|Antonine Wall: W (2.25) to Falkirk (Central)
Antonine Wall: E (4) to Kinneil (Central)
Mumrills is the largest known fort on the Antonine Wall, measuring internally 577 ft. east-west by 492 ft. north-south (c.176 x 150 m), with an occupation area just over 6½ acres (c.2.6 ha). There were three or four ditches on the west, two on the east, a single ditch to the south and the rampart wall formed the northern defences of the fort which was here built upon a stone base or 'cradle' 15 feet (c.4.6 m) wide, faced at front with blocks of clay and at the rear with rammed-earth; the ramparts of the fort itself were built of laminated layers of clay blocks set upon a stone raft about 12½ ft. (3.8 m) wide.
The Roman name of the fort is Volitanio identified because Volitanio is the first main fort on the list of names along the Antonine wall starting at Carriden and supported by the inscription below. For more on the naming of forts along the Antonine wall see Saint Patrick's birthplace & the names of the Roman forts along the Antonine Wall.
First-century bronze coins - usually in circulation for only a short period - have been turned up at Mumrills, along with pre-Hadrianic pottery. Though unsupported by structural evidence, these finds may indicate that the site was first occupied by the Roman military during the campaigns of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola sometime around 81AD. This hypothesis cannot currently be proven.
There are two temporary marching camps nearby at Little Kerse (NS9478) and Polmonthill (NS9478), and another close by the Mumrills fort (NS9279; vide infra), and at least two others further east at Inveravon (NS9679).
"On the highest point of the ridge that runs east from the fort at Mumrills, and 500 ft. from the fort, a small camp has been identified (NS 920793). The south side has been eroded but the whole of the north side and most of the east and west sides remain, with a gate in each. The camp measures 140 ft. from east to west ; it may well have been a practice work." (St. Joseph, 1958)
Three inscriptions on stone are recorded in the R.I.B. for Mumrills, all of which are shown and translated on this page.
This stone was found in Polmont,1.6 km. south east of Mumrills fort, when constructing the Edinburgh-Glasgow Railway. The Latin of this inscription reads:
|HERCVLI MAGVSAN SACRVM VAL NIGRINVS DVPLI ALAE TVNGRORVM
(RIB 2140; altarstone)
|For which there are two variant translations:|
"To holy Hercules Magusan¹ of Volitanio, Nigrinus Duplicarius² of the [First] Tungrian Wing³ [dedicates this]."
"To holy Hercules Magusan,¹ Valerius Nigrinus, Duplicarius² of the [First] Tungrian Wing³ [dedicates this]."
|CASSIVS SIGN MATRIBVS|
"Cassius [dedicates this altarstone] to the Standards and the Mother goddesses."
(RIB 2141; altarstone)
|DIS M NECTOVELIVS F VINDICIS AN IXXX STIP VIIII NATIONIS BRIGANS MILITAVIT IN COH II THR|
"To the spirits of the departed and Nectovelius, son of Vindex, twenty-nine years old with nine years service, a citizen of the Brigantes¹ serving in the Second Cohort of Thracians.²"
(RIB 2142; tombstone)
During excavations over the years at the Mumrills fort a number of animal bones have been uncovered, including those of Ox, Sheep, Pig, Red Deer and Wolf; the latter animal very likely being hunted and killed for sport and as a means of pest control. The soldiers' diet was also augmented by shellfish, as evidenced by shells of Oyster and Whelk found in quantity.
There is plenty of evidence to support an occupation during the Antonine period in the form of pottery bearing the stamps of Creciro Form 31 late-Hadrianic, Avitus Form 31 c.125-145AD, Calvinus Form 31 early/mid-Antonine, and the stamps of 39 other Antonine potters.
In all, 39 coins have been recovered form the environs of the Mumrills fort, ranging from 2 denarii of Mark Antony to a single denarius of Faustina II dated c.161-75AD, also including 10 coins of Hadrian, 7 of Antoninus Pius, 5 of Trajan and another 5 unclassified.
Ravenna Cosmography: Volitanio
The etymology is similar to Velunia. The Ravenna Cosmography lists VOLITANIO as one of the places in a line at Forth-Clyde "neck". The first is VELUNIA (Carriden), so as Mumrills is the largest most people have assigned it to this site. However an inscription found at Mumrills can be read as referring to a place "VAL" which it is suggested is a variant spelling of VOLITANIO. For more see article on: Nemthur.
|gwal (wall)||folladh (ruling)||weall, (wall)
will, (well, spring)
willan (wells, springs)
[be]feolan (to command)
+ tanian (to decide by lot)
VALLUM (Rampart, wall)
VOLITO (to fly to & fro)