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Cardean Roman Camp and pre-historic barrow, Wester Cardean

A Scheduled Monument in Kirriemuir and Dean, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6026 / 56°36'9"N

Longitude: -3.1439 / 3°8'38"W

OS Eastings: 329868

OS Northings: 746220

OS Grid: NO298462

Mapcode National: GBR VF.35LX

Mapcode Global: WH6PJ.P93Q

Entry Name: Cardean Roman Camp and pre-historic barrow, Wester Cardean

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1963

Last Amended: 28 July 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4337

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow; Roman: camp

Location: Airlie

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Kirriemuir and Dean

Traditional County: Angus


The monument comprises the remains of a Roman temporary camp, dating possibly to the Severan campaign of AD 208-211, together with a ring-ditch, probably the remains of a prehistoric barrow. The archaeological features survive mainly as buried remains visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs. Part of the SE side of the camp survives as an upstanding earthwork in Crow Wood and the probable barrow is visible on the ground as a low mound.

The Roman camp is sub-rectangular in form, measuring around 830m from NE to SW by 650m transversely, enclosing an area of at least 54ha (133 acres). The cropmarks identify three sides of the camp and two of the original six tituli (external protection for the gateway): one at the centre of the SE side, and another at the southern end of the SW side of the camp. The NE side of the camp is unclear from the air, but has been identified in trial trenches. The ring-ditch is located within the NW quadrant of the camp. It has an internal diameter of 20m and is visible on the ground as the ploughed remains of a mound which stands up to 1m high. The camp is located just N of Dean Water and S of the River Isla on relatively level terrain at about 60m above sea level. Most of the fields which it occupies are currently in cultivation, while the SW quadrant lies mainly in woodland. The monument was first scheduled in 1963, 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, hedges, drystone dykes and telegraph poles, and the top 300mm of road surfaces and drains, to allow for their 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, the construction, organisation, use and role of Roman temporary camps. Its importance is enhanced because of its close proximity to the Roman fort at Cardean, and because a stretch of the camp's bank and ditch survives as an upstanding earthwork, which is very rare. There is good potential for the presence of important buried remains in the fills of the defensive ditches defining the camp perimeter, including organic remains and artefactual evidence. Within the camp, there is high potential for the survival of occupation evidence in the form of rubbish pits, latrine pits, bread ovens and other features which can add to our understanding of the lives of Roman soldiers in the field. Organic evidence from the ditch fills could provide information about land-use and the environment at the time of the camp's construction. This camp is part of a network of Roman camps, forts and roads; spatial analysis of these sites can inform our understanding of Roman military strategy in Scotland and offer insights into the impact of Roman occupation on the local Iron Age landscape. The loss of the monument would diminish our understanding of the construction and use of temporary camps by the Roman army, our knowledge of Roman period military structures, economy and social practice, and our understanding of the relationship between the Romans and the native inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

The monument is recorded by NMRS as NO24 NE15 and 29. Original scheduling file no. SC 23262/1B

Aerial photographs used:

1. RCAHMS (1977) AN/3350 NO24NE15

2. RCAHMS (1981) AN/4759 NO24NE15

3. RCAHMS (1981) AN/4763 NO24NE15

4. RCAHMS (1982) AN/5565 NO24NE15

5. CUCAP (1958) AN/3634/po NO24NE15

6. CUCAP (1969) A35681/po NO24NE15


Jones, R H 2011, Roman Camps in Scotland, Edinburgh, 158-159.

St Joseph, J K 1955, 'Air reconnaissance in Britain, 1951-5', Jour Roman Stud XLV, 82-91.

St Joseph, J K 1973, 'Air reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72', Jour Roman Stud LXIII, 214-46.


HER/SMR Reference

Angus SMR NO24NE0015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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