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Kaims Cottage, Roman Road 165m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Strathallan, Perth and Kinross

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.296 / 56°17'45"N

Longitude: -3.84 / 3°50'24"W

OS Eastings: 286223

OS Northings: 713031

OS Grid: NN862130

Mapcode National: GBR 1H.779C

Mapcode Global: WH4NG.Z0LQ

Entry Name: Kaims Cottage, Roman Road 165m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 14 December 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11563

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: road

Location: Muthill

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathallan

Traditional County: Perthshire

Description

The monument comprises part of a Roman road dating to the 1st century AD. It survives as a low grass-covered mound running SW-NE for a distance of about 140m within a forestry plantation. It lies at about 190m above sea level, crossing an area of higher ground that forms the watershed between Strathallan and Strathearn.

The visible remains of the road measure about 140m SW-NE by 8m transversely and are about 0.3m high. The road is part of a group of Roman military sites that may represent the earliest material evidence of a Roman frontier system anywhere in the Empire. Although researchers believe the system was first laid out in the later 1st century AD, the precise dating remains subject to debate. This monument was part of a road linking the forts of Ardoch and Strageath, which has been characterised as 'a classic, well engineered, all weather Roman road'. The Roman fortlet at Kaims Castle lies 75m WSW of this length of road and a further length of road survives 130m to the south-west on the other side of the fortlet.

The area to be scheduled is linear on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a well-preserved length of Roman road that survives in good condition despite its position in an area of commercial forestry. It is visible as an upstanding feature, and has the potential to inform our knowledge of the construction of early Roman roads in Scotland. Excavations conducted in the late 19th century opposite the Kaims Castle fortlet revealed an elaborate structure comprising beaten ground paved with roughly dressed flagstones covered with a layer of broken stones and surfaced with compacted gravel. Modern excavation of the monument has the potential to produce more detailed information and improve understanding of Roman military engineering and road construction techniques. The monument may seal features deriving from the earlier use of the landscape, and will preserve evidence for the construction, use and abandonment of the road. Deposits beneath the road may contain important paleoenvironmental evidence that can help us reconstruct the environment before the road was built and any cut features associated with the road may similarly provide information about the environment while the road was in use. The development sequence and period of use of the road have not been confirmed although the monument may preserve material with the potential to inform the dating of the road, through scientific dating techniques.

Contextual characteristics

The monument forms part of the road that ran along the Gask system of fortifications, extending from the forts of Camelon near Falkirk to Bertha on the River Tay. More specifically, it was part of the section of road connecting the forts of Ardoch in Strathallan and Strageath in Strathearn. The road was well defended, flanked by watchtowers and fortlets, and this extant section of road is located 75m ENE of Kaims Castle Roman fortlet. Researchers continue to debate the precise date and function of the Gask system. Many of the constituent sites were probably associated with Agricola's 1st century AD invasion of N Scotland, but another suggestion is that the fortlets such as Kaims were either re-used or built in the Antonine period during the mid-2nd century. The deposits preserved within this monument have the potential to contribute to the resolution of these issues through the application of scientific dating techniques. The monument is a rare example of a well-preserved Roman road surviving outwith the uplands; it is also a rare example of a 1st century Roman road. Its context within the Gask system enhances its significance.

Associative characteristics

The monument is widely considered a product of the earliest documented military invasion of what is now Scotland and can be associated with a number of historical figures, including Julius Agricola, governor of Britain during the reigns of the Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitian in the late 1st century.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the road construction techniques used by the imperial Roman Empire in its invasions and occupations of what is now Scotland in the 1st century AD. This potential is enhanced by its good state of preservation and proximity to the Roman fortlet at Kaims Castle, the forts at Ardoch and Strageath and associated watchtowers on the intervening stretch of road. The loss of this monument would significantly affect the completeness of the network Roman military sites forming the Gask system and would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the earliest Roman incursions into what is now Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as NN81SE 11. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust Historic Environment Record records the site as MPK774.

References:

Breeze D J 1982, THE NORTHERN FRONTIERS OF ROMAN BRITAIN, London.

Breeze D J 2006, ROMAN SCOTLAND: FRONTIER COUNTRY, London.

Woolliscroft D J 1993, 'Signalling & the design of the Gask Ridge system', PROC SOC ANTIQ SCOT 123, 291-314.

Woolliscroft D J 2002, 'The Roman Gask frontier: the current state of research'. In Woolliscroft D J 2002, THE ROMAN FRONTIER ON THE GASK RIDGE, PERTH AND KINROSS: AN INTERIM REPORT ON THE ROMAN GASK PROJECT 1995-2000, Brit Archaeol Rep Brit Ser 335, Oxford, 1.

Wooliscroft D J and Hoffmann B 2006, THE FIRST FRONTIER: ROME IN THE NORTH OF SCOTLAND, Stroud.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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