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Thorny Hill

Building (Roman), Earthwork (Roman), Watch Tower (Roman)

Site Name Thorny Hill

Classification Building (Roman), Earthwork (Roman), Watch Tower (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Mayfield; Midgate; Clathymore; Thornyhill; Gask Ridge

Canmore ID 26952

Site Number NO02SW 6

NGR NO 0206 2043

NGR Description NO 0206 2043 and NO 0211 2043

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Findo Gask
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO02SW 6 0206 2043 and 0211 2043

(NO 0211 2043) Roman Outpost (R),

OS 6" map, Perthshire, 2nd ed., (1901)

The Name Book (1864) refers to a work here situated on an eminence, still traceable, and appearing to comprise two ditches or embankments, the outer one about 54 yards in diameter. ('Roman Outpost' was thought to be the most suitable description).

Christison (1901) describes it as having a massive rampart and being on the east end of the eminence, called Midgate Hill. He also describes, as its 'outwork' an oval enclosure on the west end; it had no sign of fortification, but he traced a V-section ditch by excavation. Each work had an internal structure - 'a kind of imperfect paving'.

Crawford (1949) could find no trace of the published feature (except possibly a ditch running N-S acros the hill),but located the unpublished lesser work 200ft west of it (ie. at NO 0204 2042) and identified it as a Roman Signal Station. 1959 publication is wrong.

Name Book 1864; D Christison 1901; O G S Crawford 1949.

(NO 0211 2043) Roman Signal Station (R)

OS 6" map, (1959)

(NO 0206 2043) On the west edge of a natural hillock are the remains of the Roman Signal Station defined by a shallow ditch, c.0.3m maximum depth, with traces of a narrow causewayed entrance on the south side, enclosing a sub-circular area c.13.0m E-W by c.11.0m N-S.

(NO 0211 2043) There are the remains of an earthwork at the east end of the same hillock consisting of a roughly rectangular plateau, measuring c.35.0m E-W by c.25.0m N-S, probably enclosed by a rampart, but war-time buildings, tree-planting, etc. have obliterated all but the suggestion of one. A ditch encircles the earthwork at the base of the natural slopes on the north and east sides and across the ridge of the hillock on the west side,thus cutting the earthwork off from the signal station. On the south side the ditch has been obliterated by the modern road. Where best preserved, on the east side, it is c.0.8m deep, the plateau here being 4.0m above the bottom.

Resurveyed at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (W D J) 26 October 1965.

Two small excavation sections were undertaken of the 'V'-shaped ditch of the earthwork at Thorny Hill with bottom sump 2.5m wide and 1.2m deep. No datable finds, but the ditch passes within 13m of the ditch of the Roman watch tower suggesting that the watch tower and earthwork may not be contemporary.

D J Wooliscroft 1991.

There is no change to the existing description of this watch-tower (NO 0206 2043). The earthwork (NO 0211 2043) straddles an estate boundary, the W part being under grass, and the E part being masked by conifers. However, a Second World War building, associated with the airfield at Clathymore (NO02SW 31) has been levelled into the W part of the earthwork to a depth of at least 0.8m on the W. In addition, a hollowed pathway, which presumably provided access to a doorway on the W side of the building, has destroyed parts of the interior. All that remains of this building is its concrete floor, measuring about 12.2m from N to S by 6m, and brick chimney stacks at both the N and S ends.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS, IF), 25 October 1995.


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