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Torwood Roman camp, 310m NNE of Lochside

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1245 / 55°7'28"N

Longitude: -3.3786 / 3°22'42"W

OS Eastings: 312185

OS Northings: 581995

OS Grid: NY121819

Mapcode National: GBR 49V5.BT

Mapcode Global: WH6XL.2GF9

Entry Name: Torwood Roman camp, 310m NNE of Lochside

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1981

Last Amended: 16 January 2014

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4342

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Roman: camp

Location: Dryfesdale

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a sub-rectangular Roman temporary camp, within which lies a rectilinear enclosed settlement. The monument survives mainly as buried features visible as cropmarks captured on aerial photographs. The camp is irregular in form and measures about 450m from NE to SW by 330m transversely, enclosing an area of at least 15ha (38 acres). The camp has a pronounced corner extension to the SW. The cropmarks identify all four sides of the camp and two of the six tituli (external protection for the gateway) on the NE and SW sides. Part of the camp's bank is still upstanding on the NW side, where the remains of a partially infilled ditch are also visible. The rectilinear enclosure lies in the SW quadrant of the camp. It is regular in form and measures about 33m from SSW to NNE by 34m transversely. The enclosure contains a well-defined roundhouse, 6m in diameter, which suggests it represents the remains of a settlement of unknown date, but probably Iron Age (between 500 BC and AD 500). The camp is located just to the E of the confluence of the river Dryfe Water with the River Annan. It lies on gently sloping ground at about 50 to 60m above sea level; most of the fields which it occupies are currently in pasture. The monument was first scheduled in 1981, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present amendment rectifies this.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences to allow for their upkeep and maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular of the construction, use and role of Roman temporary camps. Although the majority of the camp no longer survives as an upstanding earthwork, there is good potential for the presence of buried organic remains and artefactual evidence from the fills of the ditch, which can provide important dating evidence and information about the contemporary environment at the time of the camp's construction. Within the camp, there is high potential for the survival of occupation evidence, for example, rubbish pits, bread ovens and other features which commonly occur in Roman camps. Such remains can enhance our understanding of the organisation of the camp and the daily lives of Roman soldiers while on campaign. Spatial analysis of camps and Roman roads can inform our understanding of Roman military strategy and possibly offer an insight into the effects of the Roman occupation on the local Iron Age landscape of the time. The importance of this camp is enhanced by the presence of a rectilinear enclosed settlement within its interior, which is unusual and may help us to understand the impact of the arrival of the Romans on the local population. The loss of the monument would affect our understanding of the construction and use of temporary camps by the Roman army, our knowledge of Roman military structure, economy and daily life, and our understanding of the interaction between the Romans and the native inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The RCAHMS record the monument as NY18SW 11 Torwood Roman temporary camp.


Jones, R H 2011, Roman Camps in Scotland, Edinburgh.

Roy, W 1793, The military antiquities of the Romans in Britain, London.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: an archaeological landscape, Edinburgh.

St Joseph, J K 1951, 'Air reconnaissance of North Britain', J Roman Stud, vol 41.

St Joseph, J K 1952, 'Forts. From the Esk to Dalmakethar', in Clarke, J et al. The Roman occupation of south-western Scotland, Glasgow.

St Joseph, J K 1965, 'Air reconnaissance in Britain, 1961-4', J Roman Stud, vol 55.

St Joseph, J K 1976, 'Air reconnaissance of Roman Scotland, 1939-75', Glasgow Archaeol J, vol 4.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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