Page last updated at 00:30 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Roman military sites investigated

Roman soldier re-enactment
The Romans campaigned in Scotland from the 1st Century

Greater protection could be given to Roman military sites in Scotland, a country with more Roman camps than any other part of Europe.

A team from Historic Scotland is seeking to identify significant remains which do not have scheduled monument status.

It will also update information on scheduled sites following new research.

Romans launched campaigns in Scotland during the late 1st, mid-2nd and early 3rd centuries.

Historic Scotland said Roman literature also had accounts of a campaign deep into Scotland in the 4th Century to crush Caledonian tribes but it has not been possible to identify archaeological remains from that operation.

The public body said while Scotland was never permanently occupied the country has more camps than any other part of Britain or Europe. Forts were also built.

Key sites include Kintore near Aberdeen and Pathhead and Inveresk in Lothian.

The Roman Empire's exploits in Scotland provides the backdrop for two forthcoming films
Centurion - which tells of lost legionaries on the run from Picts - is due for release next March. Actor Noel Clarke said he got early stages of frostbite while filming scenes in the Cairngorms
Kevin Macdonald, who directed Last King of Scotland, has also shot scenes for his feature Eagle of the Ninth in the Highlands

Excavations have uncovered ovens and rubbish pits and evidence of where rows of tents were lined up.

A scheduled monument is deemed to be a site of national importance and has legal protection.

The far-reaching influence of the Roman Empire has been found across Scotland.

There are more than 260,000 archaeological sites and monuments, architectural objects and marine sites have been recorded in Scotland.

About 8,000 of the most important examples are presently scheduled.

In 2007, ancient coins were found in a sand dune on a beach in the Western Isles.

Archaeologists believed the pieces of copper alloy dated from the middle of the 4th Century.

Last year, archaeologists uncovered a small - but vital - clue to the use of a chariot in Moray.

World heritage

A piece of a horse harness was found during the latest dig at an Iron Age site at Birnie, near Elgin.

Dr Fraser Hunter, of the National Museums of Scotland, said it was further evidence of the high status of its inhabitants.

Excavations would have been unlikely at Birnie if not for the discovery of Roman coins 11 years ago.

Earlier this month, opposition politicians criticised the Scottish government for failing to spend more on developing the potential of the Antonine Wall.

The ancient fortified wall, which formed the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, was given world heritage status in July last year.

Falkirk East Labour MP Cathy Peattie said more cash was needed to raise the profile of the 37-mile structure.

Culture Minister Mike Russell said future funding would be considered.

He said an "action plan", led by North Lanarkshire Council, was being put together to decide how to best promote the wall, built in 142 AD by Emperor Antoninus Pius.

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