Aberdeenshire SMR - NJ72NW0050 - LOGIE DURNO ROMAN CAMP

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ72NW0050
NRHE Card No.NJ62NE31
NRHE Numlink 18107
HES SM No. 4123
Site Form Crop Mark (Includes Soil Mark)
Site Condition AP visible Only
Details Cropmarks of a Roman temporary marching camp, dating to the reign of Agricola, which is the largest Roman temporary camp north of the Antonine Wall. The camp measures a minimum of 141 acres, maximum 144 acres; the SW side is 3230 feet long, NW side 1930 feet long, with a ditch 3.35m wide and 1.37m deep. The N, W and E sides have been traced, but much of the S side lies under trees. There are two gateways on both the E and W sides, and one in the N, all with tituli. It is presumed there is another on the S side. The camp is slightly irregular in shape, with the W side angling towards the NW at the northerly entrance. On the E side the ditch juts eastwards at the southern entrance and westwards at the northern entrance. First observed from the air in July 1975, excavations were carried out in 1975-77 to establish the line of the ditch where aerial photo evidence needed to be confirmed of where the ditch was not visible. Excavation of the S end and angle of this side revealed a ditch around 3.5m in width and 1.5 in depth with a V-shaped section. The NW side is also largely visible on aerial photography, and excavation of a small number of trenches defined the location of the gate and its traverse. The NE side of the camp is only visible from the air for less than half its assumed length. Excavation next to the Easterton of Logie steading revealed the continued line of the ditch and the location of the second gate in this side. The SE side is only locatable by the S corner, running for around 60m, and later ploughing appears to have removed any more evidence for this ditch. In the E angle of the camp there is no evidence for a ditch. Excavation in this area revealed the presence of bedrock at a shallow depth below the surface, which suggests its builders considered a rampart of earth and boulders sufficient for this section of the enclosure. At present it is considered to be a possible contender for the camp nearest the battle of Mons Graupius, with the fort on Bennachie being the possible native hill fort of Calgacus. This battle marked the culmination of Agricola's time as the Roman governor of Britain. Mons Graupius was a battle between the northern British tribes, known as the Caledonians, and Agricola's army during his seventh and final campaigning season as governor. Our knowledge of the battle and the run up to it comes largely from Tacitus, Agricola's son-in-law and biographer. He describes how the northern tribes had risen against the Romans in AD 82 and Agricola had marched north and engaged them. The following year Agricola again advanced into the north-east, where he finally met the full force of the allied northern tribes (around 30,000 strong, claims Tacitus) at Mons Graupius. The Caledonians were arrayed in tiers up the slope of the hill and Agricola's army was deployed before his camp. While Tacitus' description of the battle site is not extensive enough to identify it with certainty, both the camp at Logie Durno and the hill range, Bennachie, opposite bear much resemblance to the description. The potential for the survival of remains related to the construction and use of the enclosure is extremely high due to its size. The ditch, entrances and outworks especially may contain high levels of buried evidence, including possible environmental remains and dating evidence for the site.
Last Update30/05/2017
Updated Bycherbert
Date of Compilation 

Easting: 369864.208055253, Northing: 827199.419061364

Google Map for NJ72NW0050

National Grid Reference: NJ 6986 2719

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