Doing your own research

Since October 2003 I have been visiting Roman sites and museums across Europe. In August 2017 I have been publishing material on the Romans in Scotland trying to make sense of the overall picture. Here are some of the resources you can use to do your own searching.


Canmore is an online record of every historical find in Scotland. You can search by map or by a term such as “Roman Fort”. Really interesting, something unique to Scotland, and a great resource. You can download search results as a KMZ map file and put it on Google Maps as shown here from 2017 Roman camps in Scotland

Canmore Search Facility

National Library of Scotland Digital Resources – Sign up for an online account and searches thousands of scholarly articles on Romans. It’s a bit technical but a rich resource that I have used for 15 years. I use JSTOR for Roman articles, it’s a digital library of more than 6,500 eBooks and 2,600 scholarly journals covering many topics including humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

National Library of Scotland online search

National Museums of Scotland Research Library – great for finding books and material unavailable elsewhere. Not used the library but links to articles on Google Scholar.

Archaeology Data Service – National Data service that accesses data from multiple sources.

National Library of Scotland Digital Maps – Nearly every map of Scotland is digital and online for you to look at. Roman roads and camps are frequently mapped particularly on Ordnance Survey maps from 1875 to 1921. The guy who leads this, Chris Fleet, is one of the unsung heroes of Scotland for leading the team creating this great site that just works. They did it on a shoestring budget too.

Archaeopress – has free books and articles on Romans called “open access”. In addition to the Open Access titles, over 150 titles are available as free-to-download PDFs for personal use – many research papers – its a kind of Facebook for academics to share papers Academia has 36 million articles. I have the app on my smartphone and it frequently pops up articles related to research I have been doing.

Wikipedia – obvious but you can get great leads from it when you then google

Google – obvious but it’s in the way you use it. I found an article mentioning the name “Vibia Pacata”, a woman who lived on the Antonine Wall. I then googled this name and found other articles detailing her history and how she came to the Antonine Wall.

Google Lens – this is useful for establishing copyright on images. I am careful to be respectful of copyright and some sites publish images without saying where they got them from. Also useful for finding information on visual objects

I use Quantum GIS to establish potential links between georeferenced datasets. This needs quite a bit of technical knowledge and google maps is a much easier option.

QGIS software with map from National Library of Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland data

I use Google Earth to look at Roman sites in Scotland as it offers satellite images from various years and crop types. In some years you can see fort marks and in others not so much.

Not something I do but there is a leaflet on Metal Detecting and Scheduled Monuments

Academic research uses citations of people’s works. My preference is for the Chicago style ( not implemented). See The Chicago Manual of Style Online

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