Antonine Wall Distance Slabs


This evening, I am posting information on the Roman era Antonine Wall in Scotland with particular emphasis on the distance slabs which were set up by the Romans during the construction phase. Key facts and information concerning the Antonine Wall:

  • Built AD 139-AD 142.
  • Extends from Bridgeness (or Carriden) on Forth Estuary in the east to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde in the west.
  • Extends for 40 Roman miles ( 37 Imperial miles),
  • Built of turf blocks with rampart probably 10ft high and 6ft top width.
  • Defence was augmented with a number of structures including major forts (possibly 26) fortlets and watchtowers.
  • Construction was undertaken by three legions: II Augusta, VI Victrex and XX Valeria Victrix. In practice, possibly some 3000-4000 men were employed in the construction work.

Nineteen distance slabs have been discovered. These were set up to record the length of construction work undertaken by each legion. The slabs are far more elaborate and ornate than found elsewhere in the Empire, possibly for propaganda purposes and indicating a major military victory. There is evidence to suggest the slabs were once attached in some way to the Wall. As illustrated in the video below, eighteen of the slabs are on display in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

Distance Slabs at Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

Image below shows a section of the Antonine Wall east of Bar Hill.


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