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Antonine Wall, Roman temporary camp 450m west of Buchley Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Canal, Glasgow City

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.922 / 55°55'19"N

Longitude: -4.2636 / 4°15'49"W

OS Eastings: 258645

OS Northings: 672189

OS Grid: NS586721

Mapcode National: GBR 0Z.ZVH0

Mapcode Global: WH3NW.GFX0

Entry Name: Antonine Wall, Roman temporary camp 450m W of Buchley Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 June 1972

Last Amended: 26 November 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3203

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Cadder

County: Glasgow City

Electoral Ward: Canal

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

Description

The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman temporary camp, visible on aerial photographs as the cropmarks of its perimeter ditch. The site lies 350m west of Buchley and lies close to the edge of a low rise, spreading across two fields used for pasture and arable cultivation. The monument was first scheduled in 1972, but an inadequate area was included to protect the full extent of the archaeological remains; the present rescheduling rectifies this.

Dating to the mid-second century AD, the camp is associated with the construction of the Antonine Wall fort at Balmuildy, situated approximately 710m to the south-west. The cropmarks represent buried archaeological features that retain different levels of moisture than the surrounding subsoil resulting in the variant growth of the crops above. These cropmarks reveal a rectangular enclosure with four rounded corners and four gates visible. The camp is approximately 245m NE-SW by 180m transversely, creating an internal area of 4.9 hectares. Adjoining the E corner there are two rectangular annexes, the larger of which is incomplete.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

A typical Roman temporary camp comprised an open internal area where soldiers pitched tents in regularly-arranged rows, enclosed by a low mound of earth topped with a palisade of sharpened stakes. Beyond the camp's rampart lay an external V-shaped ditch. This monument retains the majority of its original form, despite only being visible as a cropmark. These show that evidence of the camp's ditches still survive below the topsoil. At 4.9 hectares, Buchley is the second largest temporary camp known on the line of the Antonine Wall and is one of only a handful of camps with evidence of an annexe. Buchley is one of only two camps known to lie to the north of the frontier and archaeologists believe the camp was not connected to the building of the Antonine Wall but rather the fort at Balmuildy.

The cropmarks therefore indicate that this is a well-preserved monument that has the potential to provide high-quality archaeological evidence relating to the date, construction, occupation and abandonment of the camp. Excavations of similar sites elsewhere in Scotland tell us that Roman temporary camps interiors also have high potential for the survival of important evidence that can tell us more about the lives of the soldiers who occupied the site, such as rubbish pits, bread ovens, latrine pits and possibly stake-holes from tents.

Contextual characteristics

The camp provided temporary accommodation for Roman legionaries building the nearby fort of Balmuildy and is one of 20 such sites currently known along the line of the frontier. Archaeologists first recognised the relationship between these camps and the frontier in the 1950s when aerial photography became an important survey tool. The relationship of the camps to our understanding of the Antonine Wall is particularly important as only on this frontier can camps be directly related to the building of the frontier, our evidence being supplemented by the information provided on the well-known and internationally important distance slabs.

Built in the years following AD 142, the Antonine Wall represents Scotland's most significant Roman monument. Measuring 60km in length, the Wall spans the narrow neck of land between Bo'ness on the River Forth and Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. Incorporating a continuous system of wall and ditch, the Wall is accompanied at regular intervals by forts, fortlets and other structures linked by a road system. It is one of only three linear barriers to be found along the 2000km European frontier of the Roman Empire, the other examples being Hadrian's Wall and the Rhine limes, which are unique to Germany and Britain. As a frontier, the Antonine Wall is interpreted as a means of controlling and monitoring cross-border movement into the Roman province to the south rather than a fortification intended to repel significant invasion. However, it is likely that the frontier's physical presence in the landscape, a continuous barrier spanning central Scotland, served as a deterrent to smaller-scale raiding.

Associative characteristics

The Antonine Wall was established by the Emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138-61) after successful campaigning in AD 139-42 by the Governor of Britain, Quintus Lollius Urbicus. It replaced Hadrian's Wall as the Empire's most northerly frontier. The Wall remained in use until it was abandoned, possibly after AD 165, when the Roman army withdrew from Scotland and the frontier line shifted again to Hadrian's Wall. The construction and purpose of the Antonine Wall exemplifies the wider system of military frontier management, termed limes, which stretched over the whole of the Roman Empire.

The Antonine Wall forms an extension to the existing transnational 'Frontiers of the Roman Empire' World Heritage Site that includes the German limes and Hadrian's Wall. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee approved the addition of the Antonine Wall on 7 July 2008.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular Roman temporary camps, their date, construction, use and role within the construction of the adjacent Antonine Wall and its forts. Although no longer surviving as an upstanding earthwork, there is high potential for the preservation of important buried remains, in particular dateable organic remains and artefactual evidence relating to the occupation of the camp. Within the camp, the potential for the survival of occupation evidence is high and such remains help inform our understanding of the lives of Roman soldiers while in the field. Organic evidence from the fill of the ditches around the camp is capable of providing information about the contemporary environment at the time of the construction of the Antonine Wall. As a group, the 20 temporary camps associated with the Antonine Wall provide an important tool to aid our understanding of the construction of the frontier. The loss of the monument would impede our understanding of the construction and use of temporary camps by the Roman army and, in particular, the relationship between temporary encampments and the construction of the Antonine Wall.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NS57SE 15.

References:

Breeze D J 2006, THE ANTONINE WALL, John Donald: Edinburgh.

Hanson W S and Maxwell G S 1986, THE ANTONINE WALL: ROME'S NORTH WEST FRONTIER, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Robertson A S and Keppie L J F 2001, THE ANTONINE WALL: A HANDBOOK TO THE SURVIVING REMAINS, Glasgow: Glasgow Archaeol Soc.

RCAHMS 1978, LANARKSHIRE: AN INVENTORY OF THE PREHISTORIC AND ROMAN MONUMENTS, Edinburgh: HMSO, 114, 117-19, No. 248.

RCAHMS 1982, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF CUMBERNAULD AND KILSYTH DISTRICT AND STRATHKELVIN DISTRICT, STRATHCLYDE REGION, Edinburgh: HMSO, 17, No. 31.

St Joseph J K S 1976, 'Air Reconnaissance of Roman Scotland, 1939-75', GLASGOW ARCHAEOL J 4, 13.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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