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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNO66NW0033
NRHE Card No.NO66NW18
NRHE Numlink 35945
HES SM No. 2829
Site Form Crop Mark (Includes Soil Mark)
Site Condition AP visible Only
Details Cropmarks of a Roman fort, (the most northerly known), recorded during aerial reconnaissance by CUCAP in 1957. It lies adjacent to a Roman temporary camp (NO66NW0013), but its discovery was as a result of the identification of Inchtuthill (NO13NW 5) as a fortress - which required a 'screen of supporting forts'. Stracathro blocks the entrance to the North Esk, the northward route by the Cairn o'Mount pass and the northeast-southwest route through Strathmore. In 1957 St Joseph sectioned the (third) outer ditch on the southeast side revealing the typical V-shaped profile and establishing its dimensions as 4.27m (14ft) wide and 2.1m (7ft) deep. He deduced that the gate on that side, which divides the length in a ratio of two to three, was the 'porta principalis dextra' and that the fort therefore faced northeast. Subsequent reconnaissance, by CUCAP, the RCAHMS and ACAS, has revealed that the fort is defended on the northwest and southwest by two ditches and on the southeast by three and that the steep river-scarp above the bank of the West Water has washed away the northeast corner and part of the north side. The interior is partially obscured by a church and a minor road. The east side has not been recorded due to tree cover, erosion and poor cropmark development. The gates are of the 'parrot's beak' variety. The dimensions within the ditches are estimated at nearly circa 183m (600ft) northeast-southwest by circa 144m (475ft), an area of some circa 2.6ha (6 acres). An enclosure, with a southeast facing entrance, 60.9m (200ft) in depth attached to the southern half of the southwest front would appear to be an annexe defended by a single broad ditch. Much of it lies within the area of the temporary camp. In 1969, in advance of an extension to the burial ground for Stracathro church, which lies within the fort, A. S. Robertson undertook a rescue excavation. She discovered the sleeper trenches for 'a long narrow building running north and south', belonging to a building at least 27.4m (90ft) long subdivided into small rooms circa 3m (10-11ft) square which she interpreted as a barrack-block, suggesting that the fort actually faced northwest or southeast on analogy from other examples of forts. This building may have had a veranda on its long axis side. Finds from the excavations include fragments of pottery including one definite piece of Flavian Samian and an 'As' of Domitian (86 AD), lost in mint condition, identical with six found at the fortress of Inchtuthill in Perthshire. A watching brief was carried out by MAS in January 2009 during the replacement of 2 electricity poles, no finds or features of archaeological significance were encountered. Resistance and magnetic surveys were carried out in 2012 (as part of the Roman Gask Project) encompassing the entire surviving area of the Roman fort (except for the modern parish churchyard), along with its annexe and part of the temporary camp to the west. The defences showed clearly over most of their course, with the 'parrot beak' style gates, but the impression of a triple ditch, gained in the past from the air, appears to have been caused by the rampart showing as a third linear cropmark in aerial views. The magnetic survey showed what are probably lines of pits in the interior, which may represent the postholes of barrack blocks. The supposed annexe showed clearly, but there were some signs in the magnetic data that its broad, single ditch might cross those of the fort, which may or may not suggest that the two are not contemporary. Large areas of rig and furrow cultivation were detected by the resistance survey, both inside and outside the fort, as well as a number of ring features, which seem likely to represent roundhouses. The magnetic survey found faint signs of a linear feature crossing the fort interior diagonally. At least two possible posthole founded structures stood at right angles to this, and so may represent contemporary rectangular timber buildings beside a track, which does not relate to the Roman occupation.
Last Update23/08/2021
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation15/07/2010

Easting: 361703.552096121, Northing: 765740.149602825

Google Map for NO66NW0033

National Grid Reference: NO 6170 6574

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1969 Excavation
2009 Watching-Brief
2012 Geophysical Survey

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 1957  J K St Joseph   
 1969  A Robertson   
 1969  A Robertson   
 2012 Survey  D Woolliscroft  RGP 

Artefact and Ecofact

Date MDate YArtefact TypeFinderRecovery MethodConditionStorage LocationAccess No.
 1969 SAMIAN POTTERY AR Excavation Unknown  
 1969 COIN AR Excavation Unknown  


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability