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Ritual and religion

Figurine of Ram, Birrens

Roman Period

Found in a field North East of Birrens Roman Fort by a metal detector, this small figuine of a ram is made from bronze and has survived in a fair condition. Unfortunately the object is incomplete with the ear and forelegs missing. 


Birrnes Roman Fort


The remains of this fort are quite impressive when approached from the south, where its southern defences, arranged along the edge of a natural scarp above the river are now covered in gorse bushes. The remains of stone-built buildings are visible across the whole of the interior, all beneath an overlying blanket of turf, except at the south-east corner, where several courses of stonework are visible; these belong not to the fort's defences but to buildings in the retentura or rear of the camp, the corner-angle itself having been lost to erosion. The extensive ditch system and entrance causeway is especially prominent on the north, and a scatter of shaped stones on the west rampart marks the position of the gateway on this side.

 The only classical reference for the name of the Birrens encampment is contained in the Antonine Itinerary of the late-second century. Iter II, "the route from the 'Entrenchments' to the port of Rutupiae, four-hundred and eighty-one thousand paces", details the journey from Hadrian's Wall to Richborough in Kent. In this itinerary the name Blato bulgio appears as the northern terminus, some 12 Roman miles from Castra Exploratorum (Netherby, Cumbria), both stations lying beyond the Wall of Hadrian.

Place of Discovery:
Birrens Roman Fort, nr Ecclefechan
length: 37mm width: 9mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
RCAHMS site record:
Birrens Roman Fort
CHRISTISON et al "Account of the Excavation of Birrens, A Roman Station in Annandale, undertaken by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1895". PSAS, Third Series, Volume 6, 1896, pp 81 = 199.