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Cardean, Roman fort 230m north west of Cardean Mill

A Scheduled Monument in Strathmore, Perth and Kinross

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Latitude: 56.6005 / 56°36'1"N

Longitude: -3.1582 / 3°9'29"W

OS Eastings: 328986

OS Northings: 745995

OS Grid: NO289459

Mapcode National: GBR VF.329T

Mapcode Global: WH6PJ.GC9C

Entry Name: Cardean, Roman fort 230m NW of Cardean Mill

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1963

Last Amended: 28 July 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2306

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: fort

Location: Airlie

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathmore

Traditional County: Angus


The monument comprises the remains of a Roman fort with two probable annexes, visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The fort dates to the late 1st century AD. The archaeological remains survive beneath the ploughsoil as buried features and deposits. The cropmarks identify all four sides of the fort, with two attached annexes to the SE and SW, and a Roman road entering the fort from the NE. The fort measures approximately 207m NW-SE by 179m transversely, enclosing an area of about 3.7ha, making it one of the largest Roman forts in Britain. A defensive system of one turf-built bank, 6.1m wide, and four substantial ditches, between 5-15m wide and 1.5-3m deep, defines its perimeter. A series of buildings and thoroughfares are clearly visible in the interior. Limited excavations between 1966-1975 revealed the presence of rows of timber barracks, a large granary and cobbled streets. The fort is located on a promontory at the confluence of the River Isla and the Dean Water at 50m above sea level. 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 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 Roman forts, including their dating, design, methods of construction, uses and wider role. Although no longer surviving as an upstanding earthwork, the cropmark evidence, together with the results of limited excavations and survey, confirm that this is a complete, well-preserved and exceptionally large Roman fort, built during the first attempt by the Romans to conquer Caledonia in the AD 80s. There is high potential for important archaeological evidence to survive in the fills of the enclosure ditches, including dateable organic remains and artefactual and environmental evidence relating to the occupation of fort. Within the fort, there is confirmed potential for the presence of occupation evidence, including structural remains, rubbish pits, bread ovens and other buried deposits, which can inform our understanding of the daily life, organisation and provisioning of the Roman army. Palaeoenvironmental evidence from the ditch fills could also provide information about the landscape, agriculture and environment at the time of the fort's construction. Spatial analysis of Roman camps, forts and road networks can inform our understanding of Roman military strategy and offer insights into the impact of the Roman occupation on the native Iron Age communities and the local landscape. The loss of this monument would significantly affect our understanding of the construction and use of forts by the Roman army and our knowledge of Roman military structure, economy and social practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NO24NE 12. Original scheduling file no. SC 23262/1A

Aerial photographs used:

1. CUCAP (1972) A35685/po NO24NE12

2. RCAHMS (1977) AN/3347 NO24NE12

3. CUCAP (1979) A35305/po NO24NE12

4. CUCAP (1979) A35306/po NO24NE12

5. RCAHMS (1982) AN/5571 NO24NE12


Hoffman, B 2001, The results of the survey of the Roman fort of Cardean, August 2001(unpublished typescript).

Robertson, A S 1976, 'Agricola's campaigns in Scotland, and their aftermath', Scot Archaeol Forum 7, 4-9.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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