Slab replica earns Bo’ness a place on the tourist map

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THE Romans might be long gone, and the original permanently housed in the National Museum of Scotland, but work started on Monday to resurrect a full-size Bridgeness Slab replica in Bo’ness.

Work at Kinningars Park, Harbour Road, is expected to take approximately one month and will see the 3m by 1m sandstone commission - costing around £60,000 - installed not far from where it was first found in 1868.

As one of the most significant Roman artefacts found in this country, if not Europe, experts regard the rare distance marker stone as the largest and finest of the legionary tablets.

As such, it cannot be returned to Bo’ness but now a 10-year project instigated by Bo’ness Community Council members and carried forward with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust is close to completion.

The National Museum of Scotland and Historic Scotland have also been involved, and the replica is funded by Falkirk Environment Trust and Falkirk Council.

A Scotland-wide search was carried out for suitable stone and high resolution 3D scans were taken of the original.

Its importance has further increased since the designation of the Antonine Wall as a World Heritage Site in 2008, with it marking the first section of the wall to be finished.

The replica version has been hand-tooled and local firm Sanctus Media has made a special film for educational and tourism use.

Rob Willox, the community council’s project leader, said everyone’s hard work would have been worth it when the slab, and interpretation boards, were finally unveiled.

“The hope is that it helps put Bo’ness on the national tourist map of Roman history and draws visitors to both see it and visit other attractions in and around the town.”

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s leisure, tourism and community convener, initially involved as a community councillor, also expressed his hope it would benefit the town.

He said: “I think people will be really impressed when they see it.”