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The Romans left their considerable mark on most parts of Britain, and our area is no exception.

The western end of the famous Antonine Wall, built partly to keep the northern Caledonians at bay, was in the Old Kilpatrick area, and it is difficult to believe that there was not some solid Roman presence as far west as Dumbarton Rock.

The Antonine Wall was built in the 2nd century A.D. for additional security in connection with a line of forts which had been built between the Forth and the Clyde in the 1st century. It was named after the Emperor Antoninus.

There were forts (and Roman baths) at Old Kilpatrick, and Duntocher. Some artefacts connected with the Roman presence here can be seen in the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University (Link opens in a new browser window). These include distance slabs, altars, tombstones and coins.

Distance Slab from Old Kilpatrick. Now in the Hunterian Museum.

When they had completed their work, the three legions who built the Antonine Wall in AD 142-43, erected a number of commemorative stone slabs. On each was inscribed the name of the Emperor Antoninus, the name of the legion responsible for building that section, and the length of wall completed. On most slabs there is also a sculptured depiction showing some of the army's military successes.

It would, of course, be a mistake to think that during this period the area was populated mainly by Romans. Part of the success of the Roman Empire was based on recruitment of locals to the cause. Most of the local inhabitants would have been of Brythonic Celtic race.