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from Birrens, Dumfriesshire

Postcard of Altar.
© National Museums Scotland


This stone altar was found at the site of the Roman fort at Birrens in Dumfriesshire. It was used in religious rites between 120 and 180 AD.

The altar is dedicated to the the Emperor. At the top is an architectural frieze.

An altar was a public sign of a Roman's beliefs. On each, the donor's name as well as the god's was often recorded. Offerings were made in the hollow on the top. Wine was often poured onto the altar.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-002-289-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FP 2
Date: Between 120 and 180 AD
Material: Stone
Dimensions: 990 mm H x 500 mm L x 590 mm W
Where: Scotland, Dumfriesshire, Middlebie, Birrens
Description: Roman stone altar dedicated to the Discipline of the Emperor, with a sacrificial axe and knife in relief on the right hand side and a patera with ram's head handle on the left, from Birrens
  • Collingwood, R.G. & Wright, R.P. The Roman Inscriptions of Britain Vol. 1: Inscriptions on Stone. Oxford: University Press (no. 2092), 1965. 
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