It was my turn this week to choose the venue for our weekly day out. I choose Melrose in the Scottish Borders as it has plenty for my wife to see and has a new museum on the Roman fort just outside the town, Trimontium.
The Roman invasion of Scotland or Caledonia started in 79AD. After five years, they had defeated the tribes but never succeeded in turning the country into a proper Roman province. Trimontium (the place of the three hills) was in a key position on a natural mound above the River Tweed, and later the Romans built a road that linked the fort to Hadrians Wall and their main base at York. The garrison comprised around 500 cavalry, a fast reaction force able to respond to any threat in the area. The Trimontium Trust publishes a pamphlet that explains the history and how the fort was built. The local tribes included the Votadini and the Selgovae, and they occupied the nearby Eildon Hills and what is today Melrose. The Romans abandoned the site in the early 3rd century.
The small exhibition is based in the town centre and includes state of the art visual aids to explain the Roman presence and how such a fort operated. It includes some of the finds from excavations at the site, primarily the work of James Curle between 1905 and 1910. He published a book on his finds, which can be read online.
There is not much to see at the site of the fort. Air photography has identified around nine temporary camps as well as the permanent camp.
|The Indian gauntlet swords are particularly interesting.|
|Rob Roy's musket is the second from the bottom.|