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Station House, Roman temporary camp 200m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Falkirk South, Falkirk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9945 / 55°59'40"N

Longitude: -3.8303 / 3°49'49"W

OS Eastings: 285933

OS Northings: 679458

OS Grid: NS859794

Mapcode National: GBR 1H.V9H2

Mapcode Global: WH5QZ.4L9F

Entry Name: Station House, Roman temporary camp 200m SE of

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1996

Last Amended: 25 June 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6542

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: Antonine Wall

Location: Falkirk

County: Falkirk

Electoral Ward: Falkirk South

Traditional County: Stirlingshire

Description

The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman temporary camp, visible on aerial photographs as the cropmarks of its perimeter ditch. The majority of the camp occupies flat ground in a pasture field immediately south of the Union Canal, with the SE corner crossing into a woodland plantation. This monument was originally scheduled in 1996; 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 around 430m to the north. 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 and all four entrances visible. The gates in the E and S sides are equipped with tituli, a short section of ditch placed in front of the gateway that protected the approach to the entrance. In 2000, archaeologists excavated a cropmark situated some 20m beyond the N gate and revealed a rectangular length of ditch approximately 8m E-W by 2m transversely. Although no Roman artefacts were recovered, the characteristics of this feature suggest it as a titulus for the N gate or part of an earlier outwork or aborted system of defences for the camp.

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, electric transmission line pylons and field walls 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 perimeter ditch still survives below the topsoil. Cropmarks also illustrate the survival of titulus gates on the south and west as buried features. Excavations in 2000 revealed what could be an unusually distant titulus for the camp's N gate or evidence of an aborted Roman fortification on the site.

The cropmarks therefore indicate that this is a well-preserved monument with 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 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

The RCAHMS record the monument as NS87NE 13. The Falkirk Council SMR designation is not known.

References

Breeze D J, 2006, The Antonine Wall, John Donald: London.

Cook M, 2000, 'Deer's Den, Kintore', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2000, 10 -11.

Cook M, 2002, 'Forest Road, Kintore', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2001, 11.

Goodburn R, 1978, 'Roman Britain in 1977. I. Sites explored', Britannia 9, 413.

Gooder J, 2000, Archaeological works on Scheduled Area of Tamfourhill Roman Temporary Camp: Data Structure Report, unpublished excavation report, AOC Archaeology Group.

Gooder J, 2000, Archaeological test-pitting prior to bore hole drilling in Scheduled Area of Antonine Wall: Data Structure Report, unpublished excavation report, AOC Archaeology Group.

Gooder J, 2000, A report on an evaluation along the line of the extension of the Union Canal, on the western outskirts of Falkirk, unpublished excavation report, AOC Archaeology Group.

Gooder, J and Duffy, A 2000, 'Falkirk Millennium Link, Falkirk (Falkirk parish), Roman tutulus; road', Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, 1, 2000, 39.

Hanson, W S and Maxwell, G S 1986, Rome's North West Frontier, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh.

Keppie, L J F 2001, 'Roman Britain in 2001. Sites explored, Scotland', Britannia, 32, 319-20.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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