2000-year-old Roman Road discovered in Stirling garden

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Roman Road, a 2000-year-old ancient road declared to be the most important in Scottish history, has been uncovered during a dig in Old Inn Cottage’s garden.

The site is located a few miles away from Stirling’s city centre, next to the Old Stirling Bridge.

Many important historical figures of Scottish and British history used the road for military campaigns because of the strategic importance of crossing River Forth and reaching the Highlands, but also because of its proximity to Stirling, Scotland’s former capital city.

The cobbled road was built by the Roman armies belonging to General Julius Agricola in the 1st century AD and would have linked to a causeway that crossed the River Forth.

The road and the crossing would have been used again by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD as units launched fresh invasions of Scotland under the emperors Antonine and Severan.

Stirling Council Archaeologist Murray Cook, who led the dig, said: “This crossing would have been used by the Romans, the Picts, William the Conqueror, Oliver Cromwell and every King and Queen of Scotland, including MacBeth, Kenneth McAlpin and Robert the Bruce – but not Bonnie Prince Charlie who we know crossed the river at a ford at Frew to the west of Stirling. 

“It is the most important road in Scottish history, so it’s an amazing discovery. To literally walk where Wallace and Bruce went, let alone the Romans, Picts and Vikings is astonishing. It has also never been clear before this find where this road ran.

“To the south, the road heads towards Falkirk and would eventually take you to England. To the north, it would take you a crossing over the Tay and the edge of the Roman Empire.”

roman road stirling
Roman Road, an ancient road, has been discovered near Old Stirling Bridge. / Image Credit: Stirling Council

Jennifer Ure, who lives at the cottage with her husband and two children, said: “It’s amazing to think the likes of William the Conqueror and King Henry VIII had walked through where our garden is now – not many people can say that! 

“I’ve lived in Stirling most of my life, and you know about all the great historical places in the area like Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, but I don’t think people appreciate all the other historical events that took place here which this discovery is bringing to light.

“I had no idea that the road could have been there until Murray turned up and asked about doing the dig in the garden. When the road was found, I couldn’t help but feel excited, especially given its significance.”

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: Next year marks the 900th anniversary of Stirling and we’ve world-class built heritage from the last millennium to show for it. This discovery is a reminder that our built heritage goes back a further millennium to when it was the Romans crossing the Forth and starting the story of Stirling.

“Stirling’s place at the heart of Scotland and the heart of Scottish history is something we are very proud of and understanding more about the route of the Roman Road adds another chapter to share with the many visitors who come from around the world to experience all that Stirling has to offer.” 

Featured Image Credit: Stirling Council

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