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Doune Roman Fort, fort 60m south of Doune Primary School

A Scheduled Monument in Trossachs and Teith, Stirling

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1871 / 56°11'13"N

Longitude: -4.0517 / 4°3'6"W

OS Eastings: 272763

OS Northings: 701276

OS Grid: NN727012

Mapcode National: GBR 17.G1QY

Mapcode Global: WH4NR.QRT9

Entry Name: Doune Roman Fort, fort 60m S of Doune Primary School

Scheduled Date: 26 April 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12757

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: fort

Location: Kilmadock

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Trossachs and Teith

Traditional County: Perthshire

Description

The monument comprises the buried remains of a Roman fort, visible from the air as cropmarks indicating the line of the triple defensive ditch. Part of the monument is in the care of Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The fort lies on a level promontory at around 40m above sea level, and 20m above the surrounding low lying land. The promontory overlooks the River Teith, 120m to the south, and Doune Castle, which is 170m to the SSE.

The fort is rectilinear with sections of the defensive ditches visible as cropmarks on the NE and SE side, while the NW side was discovered through excavation. The SW side is defined by the break of slope. The estimated overall size of the fort is 3ha. The ditches are around 4m wide and 8m deep. There is a well-defined entrance on the SE side and internal features have been located through excavation, including ovens, the foundations of buildings, demolition pits and internal road surfaces.

The fort dates to the late first century AD, when Roman forces first entered and operated within Scotland. The fort provided control over a local river crossing and was a base of operation in the area.

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 survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to but excludes the fences on all sides. It also excludes the top 300mm of the cricket pitch and playing fields to allow for their maintenance for recreational activities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The Roman fort at Doune was discovered in 1983 by Gordon Maxwell. It was suggested to be Flavian in date (late first century AD) because of the unusual 'parrot beak' shaped entrance on the east side (where the ditches converge on the south side of the gate). This feature is present on other Flavian forts, namely Oakwood, Bocastle and Malling. Maxwell's small-scale excavation in 1984 indicated that it was a single-phase fort built of timber, defended by triple ditches. The finds consisted mainly of first-century Roman pottery, confirming the suspicion that the fort was of Flavian occupation. There is currently no evidence as to how the defences were constructed on the south side. There may well have been triple ditch defences here too, now eroded away; alternatively, the natural steep slope may have provided sufficient defence. The defences are also unusual because they lack a slot at the bottom of the ditch, commonly called an 'ankle breaker', which is a common feature on Roman sites.

Two further excavations occurred in 1999 and 2008, revealing surviving internal buildings and bread ovens. These excavations have provided information on the internal layout of the fort and the differing social uses of the internal spaces. Excavation has also revealed the very good state of preservation of the fort's features and archaeological deposits containing numerous archaeological finds. The good survival of buried archaeological deposits highlights the potential of this site to inform our understanding of the construction and layout of Roman forts in general, and the Roman occupation of Doune in particular. The single phase of occupation at Doune means that this site provides a useful contrast with the multi-phased examples that survive elsewhere.

Contextual characteristics

The site sits on a ridge overlooking the River Teith, on a natural plateau with steep slopes on the west, east and south sides. The topography is important in helping us understand the layout of the fort, as this site is likely to have been chosen for its natural defensive nature. The fort's position, overlooking the river, was most likely to protect a crossing point of the river in this vicinity and may relate to the early attempt by the Romans to fortify the Forth-Clyde isthmus.

The fort is one of a network of Flavian forts in the area, which most likely relate to the post-conquest consolidation of the area north of the Firth of Forth. The fort at Doune greatly informs our understanding of Roman military deployment during the first century and the strategy for controlling the area. It is one of a group of Flavian auxiliary forts that have now been partially excavated, the most completely excavated example being the fort at Elginhaugh. Auxiliaries were soldiers recruited into the Roman army from all over the world, sometimes with specialist warfare skills, who were not citizens of the Roman empire. Given the brief period of occupation of Flavian forts (all occurring within a decade), they are uniquely well placed to inform our understanding of Roman military practice throughout the empire in the later first century. This particular fort is also rare because very few forts of this period which have been investigated have proved to be of single-phase construction.

Associative characteristics

The early Flavian date of the fort suggests that it was constructed probably in the aftermath of Agricola's campaigns, when the area north of the forth was captured and then subjected to a systematic consolidation. This event was chronicled by Agricola's son-in-law, Tacitus, in The Agricola. Maxwell has also suggested that the site may relate to Agricola's earlier fortification of the isthmus during the fourth summer.

ational Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular Roman forts and camps, our understanding of their construction and internal organisation, their distribution and relationship with other Roman monuments and with the landscape surrounding them. Spatial analysis between Doune Roman fort and other Flavian forts may reveal valuable information on the distribution of forts and related remains within the landscape, and any patterns uncovered may help to identify the location of further sites. The monument is a rare example of a single-phase Flavian fort and is likely to provide more complete evidence from this period than other multi-phase sites. The site has high potential for the preservation of important buried remains, in particular dateable organic remains and artefactual evidence relating to the occupation of the camp. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, their position in the network of Roman remains in Scotland, and the nature, purpose and methods employed in their construction and use.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NN70SW 36 (a copy of their short report is appended). The Stirling council SMR designation is 1440.01 (a copy of their short reports are appended).

Aerial photographs consulted

RCAHMS, 1983 PT 14118, Doune Roman Fort Oblique Aerial View

RCAHMS, 1983 PT 15178, Doune Roman Fort Oblique Aerial View

References

Bidwell, P 1997, Roman Forts in Britain, B T Batsford: London.

Breeze, D 2006 Roman Scotland, B T Batsford: London.

Frere, S S and Wilkes, J J 1989, Strageath: Excavations within the Roman fort 1973-86, Britannia Monogr 9, London.

Hanson, W S 1987, Agricola and the Conquest of the North, Batsford: London.

Hanson, W S 2007, Elginhaugh: A Flavian fort and its annexe. Britannia Monogr Ser 23, London

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

Maxwell, G S 1984, 'New Frontiers: The Roman fort at Doune and its possible significance'. Britannia, 15, 217-23.

Moloney, C, Masser, P and Jones, R H forthcoming 2010, Excavations at Doune Roman Fort, Stirlingshire, in 1999 and 2008, Scott Archaeol J.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Doune Castle & Roman Camp
https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/doune-castle
Find out more
Related Designations


CASTLE KEEPER'S COTTAGE DOUNE CASTLELB24676
Designation TypeListed Building (B)StatusDesignated

Doune CastleSM12765
Designation TypeScheduled MonumentStatusDesignated

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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