THE description of the Roman operations in Caledonia, as we find it in written history, is too vague and obscure to enable us to identify the part played by the Newstead garrison in the drama which passes before our eyes in the pages of Tacitus and later writers. And yet it is tempting to speculate upon the place the fort occupied, in those years of struggle, and to try to identify its successive alterations with the advances and retreats of which historians have preserved for us an all too brief outline. Certain points seem clear enough.

To begin with, the limits of time into which we must compress the various changes which it reveals, are tolerably clear. It is evident that they are comparatively, narrow. This is borne out by the coin finds, which strikingly confirm the conclusions arrived at earlier from similar discoveries on other Scottish sites. Professor Haverfield in his Appendix to the Antonine Wall Report, published by the Glasgow Archaeological Society in 1899, dealt with the Roman occupation of Scotland, and more particularly with the evidence as to its duration which was furnished by coins. Bringing together statistics of the various recorded discoveries in or near the Vallum or its forts, together with the hoards and isolated finds which had come to light throughout the country, he noted that the silver coins of Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian and Pius, and the bronze coins of Trajan, Hadrian and Pius were common on the Vallum and chief Roman sites, and that Marcus Aurelius, still more Commodus (177–192), were scantily represented, and later Emperors practically absent. From this he concluded that, while it was always possible that silver denarii of Domitian might go back to an occupation by Agricola, the rest of the finds very clearly pointed to an occupation which began in the reign of Pius and terminated after a comparatively brief period—in short, that the whole land north of the Cheviots must have been lost before or about A.D. 180.