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Rare Roman medallion to go on display in West Dunbartonshire

Posted on: 22/01/2016

Pictured: Project Curator Laura MacCalman and Collections Officer Andrew Graham, both of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Heritage Team, with the medallion.



A centuries-old Roman medallion found locally will form the focus of an exhibition in Clydebank this month.


The medallion, which dates from around 193AD and is one of only a handful of its kind known of in Britain, will be among the items displayed in the ‘Invasion’exhibition at Clydebank Museum and Art Gallery, which opens next week[Jan 30 2016].


Initially discovered by a metal detectorist near Cardross, the Council submitted a successful Treasure Trove bid to have the medallion allocated to West Dunbartonshire for its residents to enjoy.


The Invasion exhibition, of which the medallion will be part, will feature around 50 items and will be one of the biggest historical exhibitions to have been held in the area in recent years, spanning around 9,000 years of West Dunbartonshire history.


The display will include a whole room dedicated to the Roman occupation of the West Dunbartonshire area and the Antonine Wall, which recently secured a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to increase understanding and awareness of its history.


Construction of the Antonine Wall began in 142AD and continued for about 12 years. Once completed, the wall stretched for 39 miles across the narrowest part of Scotland and stood as a barrier between Roman Scotland and the Caledonian tribes of the north.


The medallion, which will go on display in the Roman room, features a depiction of Clodius Albinus, a Roman usurper from a wealthy senatorial family whose claim to the title of Emperor was never upheld. It can only date from between 193AD, when Clodius Albinus was declared Emperor by the armies he commanded, and 197AD, when he died.


It is likely to have been gifted as a token to a Roman soldier who fought in Clodius Albinus’ army, or to a community leader as part of a wider strategy to align the local population with the Roman presence in the area.


The reverse of the medallion shows Minerva, daughter of Jupiter and the goddess of wisdom, medicine, commerce, arts and war.


Councillor Michelle McGinty, Convener of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Educational Services Committee, said: “It is fantastic to be able to keep such a significant find in the local area to form part of what promises to be a really exciting exhibition.


“With so many traces of Roman history still there to see in West Dunbartonshire I am sure Invasion will appeal to visitors of all ages and from across the area, as well as further afield. It may surprise people just how much of historical and cultural interest we have on our doorstep.”


Councillor John Mooney, Vice-Convener of the committee, added: “I must congratulate everyone involved in successfully bidding to have the medallion allocated to West Dunbartonshire. I would encourage anyone to head along and enjoy the exhibition when it opens. We will continue to work closely with the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, where some of the Roman artefacts previously discovered in West Dunbartonshire are housed, to identify future opportunities to exhibit other artefacts on loan.”

Invasion will open to the public on Saturday 30 January and run until Saturday 14 May. It will be open from 10am-4.30pm Monday to Saturday.



Pictured: Project Curator Laura MacCalman and Collections Officer Andrew Graham, both of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Heritage Team, with the medallion.