Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop has rejected a plea to open a national tourism centre in Perthshire to celebrate its Roman heritage.
She said the Scottish Government had no plans to fund such a project anywhere in the country or even draw up a list of possible sites where it could be based.
The announcement came as a blow to Conservative Murdo Fraser, who for years has been campaigning for a centre to promote the region’s links with the ancient empire.
The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, backed by Roman history education group the Antonine Guard, said a Roman centre would boost tourism and provide youngsters with a window into Scotland’s past.
Mr Fraser said he was disappointed and criticised the Scottish Government for its “lack of vision”.
Historic Scotland maintains four Roman sites in Perthshire – Blackhill camp near Braco and three watchtowers on the Gask Ridge, near Trinity Gask.
The structures on the ridge, which runs between Perth and Dunblane, are the oldest and most northerly linear defence system in Europe.
Ardoch Fort, which dates back 2,000 years, near Braco, is privately owned.
Ms Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government currently has no plans to create a National Roman Centre, nor has it plans to commission the research that would be needed to support the development of such a list.
“The current priority is to work, through Historic Scotland, with local authorities and other partnership organisations to deliver the management plan outcomes agreed with Unesco in 2008 for the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site (the Antonine Wall runs for 37 miles from the north side of the River Clyde to Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth).
“There are many important collections of Roman artefacts dispersed around Scotland in both national and local museums. Such collections already provide an invaluable resource for the study and interpretation of Roman Scotland.”
Mr Fraser said that it appeared as if the SNP was “putting up a new Hadrian’s Wall” to stop Scotland’s Roman past being made more accessible.
“The Romans coming to Scotland and the UK helped shape the country today, and there are many important Roman sites across the land,” he added.
“That is why I want to see a national centre to tell the story of Roman history in Scotland and I believe that Perthshire would be the ideal place for it.”