Milestone in drive to display Roman relic

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A KEY milestone in the Bridgeness Roman Slab project was reached on Thursday, with delivery of the full-sized replica to Kinningars Park in Bo’ness.

The moment has been 10 years in the making, and it is hoped the carved 3m by 1m sandstone distance slab will prove a hit with tourists and locals alike.

The Harbour Road site is close to where the original, and highly prized, Roman artefact - now housed in the National Museum of Scotland - was unearthed in 1868.

Bo’ness Community Council has worked with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, as well as the National Museum of Scotland, and Historic Scotland, on the project.

An Elgin quarry provided the stone after a nationwide search for the most suitable material, and the team got after-hours access to the Chambers Street national museum to laser scan the original (pictured above).

Bo’ness Community Council owns the copyright to these images, and the plan is to produce small souvenirs like magnets and badges.

The project has also been filmed by local outfit Sanctus Media, with the aim being, after a Hippodrome premiere, to compile a DVD educational resource for use by schools and for public sale.

The replica, costing around £60,000, has been funded by Falkirk Environment Trust and Falkirk Council.

Special seating and a map/information panel are being installed at the slab site, with the replica itself set into a stone wall.

It will be officially unveiled, before up to 100 guests in the presence of the Antonine Guard, on September 7.

Madelene Hunt, community council convener, saw the carved stone last week and declared it ‘fantastic’.

Delighted at its imminent arrival, and praising the partnership work, she said: “It’s good to welcome a great visitor attraction, it’s bound to bring people to Bo’ness and that can only be good for the town.

“There will be a tremendous amount of national publicity when it’s unveiled and that can only be good.” She added: “I think this will arouse and rekindle an interest in the 
Romans.”

Council environmental co-ordinator Ian Edward said: “We are all very excited that the replica Bridgeness Slab is coming home.

“There’s still some work to do before the final unveiling in early September but we are confident that it will be a super day for the local community to have one of Scotland’s most historic artefacts back in town.”

*Check out the project’s website at www.bridgenessslab.org.uk