A towering sculpture of a Roman soldier’s head and a distance stone replica have been unveiled at Croy Hill, a Roman fort in North Lanarkshire located along the Antonine Wall, as part of a project seeking to enhance awareness of and appreciation for the area’s Roman heritage amongst local communities and visitors.
The installations were commissioned by the Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project, a £2.1m collaboration between Historic Environment Scotland and five local authorities. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Kelvin Valley and Falkirk LEADER Programme.
Constructed by Roman legionaries under the Emperor Antonius Pius from c. AD 142, the Antonine Wall stretched 37 miles between the firths of Forth and Clyde in Scotland, and marked the northernmost frontier of the Roman empire for around twenty years.
The giant 6m-tall steel sculpture of a Roman soldier’s head, now in place at Croy Hill, was designed by artist Svetlana Kondakova. In an online campaign, the public voted to name the artwork ‘Silvanus’, after the Roman god of woodlands.
A replica of a distance stone, a highly-decorative marker offering a dedication to the Emperor and recording the distance of the wall during stages of its completion, was also installed at the site. The replica, created by stonemasonry students at the City of Glasgow College, is based on a distance stone originally discovered at the nearby Westerwood Fort in 1868.
Patricia Weeks, Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Co-ordinator at Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘These installations are a modern response to this ancient site, something that was designed to capture the imagination of locals and visitors alike. They offer a wonderful surprise to those who weren’t expecting them, while others are beginning to actively seek them out and head to Croy Hill and other nearby parts of the Antonine Wall to learn more.’