The Twentieth Legion and the history of the Antonine Wall reconsidered

Vivien G Swan (Author)

Potters Graffito, Antonine Wall, Fort, Pottery, Vessels, Pottery [Dated], Army
Ad 14649, Roman


The study of utilitarian pottery from the Antonine Wall has distinguished small numbers of locally made vessels with North African affinities at nine or ten forts. Similar vessels at Chester and others made by Legio XX at the Holt works depot, one with a potter's graffito in neo-Punic suggest the presence of North Africans. It is suggested that detachments sent from Britain to Pius' Mauretanian war of AD 146-49 may have brought North Africans back with them to Britain. At the western sector of the Antonine Wall, changes in the legionary work-stints may be linked to troop reductions for the war, as the mural barrier and Bearsden Duntocher fort interiors were still unfinished. After the conflict, Bearsden and Duntocher were each partitioned to make an annexe and their internal buildings re-planned and completed; a programme of annexe construction began at other forts, and secondary alterations were made to many existing fort interiors. All may be connected with changes in units or in the composition of the returning garrisons, now perhaps mixed and augmented with small numbers of North African troops. Possible relevant epigraphic evidence is examined.


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How to Cite
Swan, V. G. (2000). The Twentieth Legion and the history of the Antonine Wall reconsidered. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 129, 399–480.