About Bearsden Roman Bath House
Bearsden Roman Bath House was a 2nd century Roman bath complex stationed along the Antonine Wall at one of its many forts. Once a thriving hotspot for social interaction between the soldiers, today its ruins provide a fascinating look into Roman life in Scotland.
Bearsden Roman Bath House history
The fort at Bearsden was likely constructed in the years following 140 AD, when the mighty Antonine Wall was installed into Scotland. Built almost two decades after Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall lay at the Roman Empire’s northwestern frontier across Scotland’s central belt, yet was only occupied for around 20 years before being abandoned in 160 AD.
The forts along the Wall were all linked by a road called the Military Way, and provided secure crossing points as well as living quarters for the soldiers stationed in the area. Included in these living quarters was one of the Romans’ most important buildings – the bath house.
The remains of Bearsden Roman Bath House give an insight into what these vital centres of communal life looked like, with features such as a changing room, cold room, two warm steam rooms and a hot dry room also an indicator of their vast size. Anything from socialising to forming business deals were undertaken in the bath houses, as well as a number of elaborate bathing rituals.
Though the rest of the fort at Bearsden has since been covered by houses, its eminent bath house survives. In the 1970s, several artefacts were uncovered at the site, such as the carved head of a goddess, a gaming board, and an inscribed building stone by the men of the 20th legion!
Bearsden Roman Bath House today
Today, the remains of Bearsden Roman Bath House – nestled amongst the surrounding housing estate – represent some of the best preserved Roman ruins along the Antonine Wall.
The layout of the bath house can still be made out, and each room has a small plaque detailing what it once served as. As well as the baths, the complex holds the ruins of a Roman latrine from which human remains were unearthed during its excavation!
Information boards dotted around the site present reconstructed images of how it once looked and operated, giving visitors a more realistic idea of where exactly they are standing. For those looking to view more of Britain’s Roman history, the New Kilpatrick Roman Wall Fort is also just across the road.
Getting to Bearsden Roman Bath House
Bearsden Roman Bath House is located in Bearsden near Glasgow, on the A808 (Roman Road). There is parking a 5-minute walk away at the Roman Road Carpark, while buses run to the nearby Roman Road stop, a 6-minute walk away. The nearest train station is Bearsden, a 10-minute walk away.
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