Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 November 2011
The fort at Auchendavy on the Antonine Wall (FIG. I), 3 km east of Kirkintilloch, was first reported in the preamble to the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of Johannes Blaeu, from notes made before 1625 by the Scottish geographer Timothy Pont. Subsequent references in the antiquarian authors over the following centuries are testimony to the gradual destruction of the once impressive fort-defences. Today the traveller by road along the B 8023 from Kirkintilloch eastwards towards Twechar passes the fort-site without a glance, even though the modern road traverses it more or less on the alignment of the via principalis. No organized excavation has ever been undertaken at Auchendavy, although small finds reported over the years from the fort-site and vicinity have included pottery, a deposit of ballista balls, a nicolo paste intaglio in an iron finger-ring, and several coins. In May 1771 during construction of the Forth & Clyde Canal, which cut away some part of the southern defences of the fort, workmen recovered a group of five altars, two iron mallets (lost or disintegrated by the later 19th century) and a broken cult-statue, from a pit seemingly just outside the fort-defences to the south (below, p. 33). An aureus of Trajan (datable to a.d. 100), reported from the site, may have been found at much the same time. From the late 1940s onwards aerial reconnaissance by Professor J. K. S. St Joseph provided a useful check on the layout of the fort-defences, and recent fieldwork and ground survey have added fresh details, so that a reappraisal of our knowledge of the fort is perhaps now a worthwhile proposition.
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