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Antonine Wall, Deanfield, Roman temporary camp and annexe 160m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Lower Braes, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9913 / 55°59'28"N

Longitude: -3.6952 / 3°41'42"W

OS Eastings: 294348

OS Northings: 678894

OS Grid: NS943788

Mapcode National: GBR 1N.VHSZ

Mapcode Global: WH5R1.6NMT

Entry Name: Antonine Wall, Deanfield, Roman temporary camp and annexe 160m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 5 November 1962

Last Amended: 15 December 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2250

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Grangemouth

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Lower Braes

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Description

The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman temporary camp and an annexe whose ditches appear as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs. The camp occupies level ground within Grangemouth Golf Course. This monument was originally scheduled in 1963; the present scheduling brings the scheduling up to modern standards.

Dating to the mid-second century AD, the camp is associated with the construction of the Antonine Wall, situated approximately 330m to the N. The camp lies around 150m east of Millhall Reservoir and 700m south-west of The Old School House, Bo'ness Road. Cropmarks of a second temporary camp (SM 3206) lie approximately 390m to the ENE. 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 three rounded corners visible. Cropmarks of an annexe enclosure, adjoining the south of the camp, are also visible. The camp measures around 135m by 145m and lies within a ditch up to 2m in breadth. This creates an internal area of approximately 2.2 hectares. Four centrally positioned entrances are visible in each side of the camp, with those on the east and west equipped with tituli (a short section of ditch that protected the approach to the gateway). The SW corner of the camp, and most of the annexe attached to the camp's SE corner, were removed in 1964 by the construction of the M9 motorway. Only the NE quadrant of the annexe survives. Formerly the annexe enclosed a low knoll and it is estimated to have defined an internal area of around 0.8 hectares.

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 fences and telegraph poles 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. The camp retains a number of features, such as cropmarks of titulus gateways at the E and W entrances and part of an annexe. The annexe was destroyed in the 1960s when the adjacent M9 motorway was built. However the outline of the annexe ditch is recorded as a cropmark on aerial photographs from the 1950s and early 1960s and its interior was partly excavated in 1964 revealing evidence of a small cemetery post-dating the Roman occupation of the site. Archaeologists also recovered Roman pottery dating to the 2nd century AD from the annexe ditch.

The cropmarks therefore indicate this is a well-preserved monument with good 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 the interiors of Roman temporary camps have high potential for the survival of important evidence that can inform us 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 stretch of the Antonine Wall and it 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 information 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. 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 affect 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

RCAHMS records the monument as NS97NW 12.

References:

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

Cook M 2000, 'Deer's Den, Kintore', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 2000, 10-11.

Cook M 2002, 'Forest Road, Kintore', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT 2001, 11.

Feachem R W 1958, 'Six Roman camps near the Antonine Wall', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 89, 332-4.

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

McCord N and Tait J 1978, 'Excavations at Kerse, East Polmont, Stirlingshire July 1963', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 109, 368-372.

RCAHMS 1963, STIRLINGSHIRE: AN INVENTORY OF THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS, 2V Edinburgh, HMSO, 106-7 No. 118.

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

St Joseph J K 1951, 'Air Reconnaissance of North Britain', J ROMAN STUD 41, 62.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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