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The Trimontium Walk


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The Story Behind the Trimontium Walk

'The Three Hills' place' was the nickname the Roman soldiers gave to their fort in the lee of one of the most familiar landmarks in Southern Scotland - the Eildon Hills.

The Latin 'Tri-montium' became an official title covering the 370-acre complex of a huge fort with four settlements ('annexes') around it, a military amphitheatre, a field system and a bridge carrying the Roman road, later called Dere Street, from York northwards. The history is interesting; the views are superb. You need to have a good imagination - because after the 'digs' the remains were re-covered each time to conserve them.

After coming to Britain in earnest in 43AD, the Romans took about 40 years to conquer what is now England and Wales. They arrived in Southern Scotland perhaps even before their governor Agricola, who came in in 79AD and by 83AD had reached the North of Scotland. Roman politics dictated that they left Scotland in 105AD and politics brought them back again at the time of the Walls - Hadrian's (Tyne to Solway) in the 120's and Antonine's (Forth to Clyde) in the 140's. Likewise they finally withdrew from Scotland by 200AD, apart from visits to pay off the tribes or make punitive raids if the province was threatened. Septimius Severus, the Emperor, brought his sons and an army back to campaign in Fife 208-210 AD, visiting the abandoned Trimontium en route.

We know about Trimontium from ancient writers and modern archaeologists. After the locals stripped the site, it was 'lost' until General Roy recognised it from seeing the Eildons, after the '45 Rebellion. The coming of the railway in the 1840's revealed many finds. James Curle of Melrose excavated 1905 - 10 and published 'A Roman Frontier Post and its People' in 1911. His finds in the numerous pits and wells were sensational at the time and can be seen in Edinburgh and Melrose today. Sir Ian Richmond confirmed his work in 1947, with the aid of German POW's. Aerial photography for forty years revealed many more features. Bradford University excavated from 1989 to 1998 selectively, and also on native sites, to investigate Romano-native relationships. We await their report.

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