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Longforgan

Temporary Camp (Roman)

Site Name Longforgan

Classification Temporary Camp (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Greenbourne; The Snabs

Canmore ID 30624

Site Number NO23SE 18

NGR NO 29896 30356

NGR Description Centred NO 29896 30356

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/30624

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Longforgan (Perth And Kinross)
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District City Of Dundee
  • Former County Perthshire

Archaeology Notes

NO23SE 18 centred NO 29896 30356

NO 299 304. A 63-acre, and therefore probably Severan (early-3rd C), Roman camp has been identified on an east-west ridge at Longforgan. About half the NE side of the camp and much of the NW which occupy the steep north slope of the ridge, are known from crop-marks, but the greater part of the camp lies on the more gentle southern slope, now under raspberry canes which hide all. The camp is crossed by a belt of woodland and here excavation has added much to the evidence of air photographs, so that a length of 1,275' of the NE side including a gate, some 50' wide, with titulum, some 2,000' of the SW side, again with gate, and the south angle of the camp are now established.

The ditch is V-shaped, 4 1/2' deep and 10' wide where best preserved.

J K St Joseph 1969; 1970.

There is no trace of this Roman camp, and its precise position remains uncertain. Extensive enquiries locally failed to establish the whereabouts of the excavation mentioned by St Joseph, and no photographs or any details are held in Dundee Museum. The camp does not show on Ordnance Survey air photographs.

Visited by OS (NKB) 10 June 1976.

NO 297 300. The rounded western corner of a ditched enclosure, possibly a Roman temporary camp, was identified as a cropmark from the air by pilots from Perth Aerodrome, to the SW of The Snabs, Greenbourne. Two lengths of ditch extend at right angles from the corner to the NE and SE respectively. The north-eastern section can be traced as far as farm buildings; the south-eastern section extends to a line of trees on the northern side of the A85 Perth to Dundee road, and has probably been cut by it. No gateways are visible.

M D King 1992.

The small enclosure at the SW corner of the camp at Longforgan appears to be an attached camp or annexe.

Information from RCAHMS (RHM) 3 January 1997.

The likely W corner of the camp has been identified from the air.

L J F Keppie 1993

An archaeological evaluation was carried out in advance of the upgrading of the Longforgan Junction of the A90. A number of archaeological sites and artefacts have been recorded in the area, including this Roman temporary camp. Geophysical survey, fieldwalking, aerial photographic analysis and trial excavation were all conducted to examine the known remains and identify any further features within the corridor.

Rectification of aerial photographs showed that the camp would not be directly affected, but that an annexe would be crossed. The ditches and the area enclosed within the ditches of the annexe, where it fell within the road corridor, were excavated. The ditches were found to have been heavily truncated horizontally, but the remaining profiles are V-shaped and similar to those recorded in other camps. No artefacts were recovered from the ditch fills and no internal features were discovered.

CFA 1994x.

Activities

Archaeological Evaluation (May 1994 - August 1994)

An archaeological evaluation was carried out in advance of the upgrading of the Longforgan Junction of the A90. A number of archaeological sites and artefacts have been recorded in the area, including this Roman temporary camp. Geophysical survey, fieldwalking, aerial photographic analysis and trial excavation were all conducted to examine the known remains and identify any further features within the corridor.

Rectification of aerial photographs showed that the camp would not be directly affected, but that an annexe would be crossed. The ditches and the area enclosed within the ditches of the annexe, where it fell within the road corridor, were excavated. The ditches were found to have been heavily truncated horizontally, but the remaining profiles are V-shaped and similar to those recorded in other camps. No artefacts were recovered from the ditch fills and no internal features were discovered.

CFA 1994x.

Publication Account (17 December 2011)

The camp at Longforgan was discovered from the air by St Joseph in the late 1960s (St Joseph 1969: 111), sited on a low ridge on the south side of the Sidlaw Hills, west of the village of Longforgan. The camp at Invergowrie lies just over 4km to the east, and the Firth of Tay some 3km to the south. The ground on which the camp lies drops away to the Lochsprout Burn to the north.

Parts of all four sides are known through the cropmark record, and the camp measures 622m from north-east to south-west by 408m transversely, enclosing 25ha (62 acres). An annexe is visible on the south-west side, measuring some 136m by 114m and enclosing a further 1.5ha (3.7 acres). Entrance gaps are visible in the cropmark on the north-east and south-west sides; on the south-east side a is protected by a titulus, and a second was identified by excavation on the north-east side.

Excavations have been conducted on various occasions by St Joseph. On the north-east side, the ditch was V-shaped, measuring up to 3m in width and 1.3m in depth with a drainage channel in the bottom. A later drain cut through the ditch. The entrance gap was about 16m in width, and a titulus was recorded 13m from the camp with a V-shaped ditch 2.4m in width and 0.9m in depth (RCAHMS St Joseph Collection: Notebook 4). Elsewhere, the ditch was up to 3m wide and 1.4m deep (RCAHMS St Joseph Collection: Notebooks 5 and 8; St Joseph 1970b: 38).

Later excavations in 1994 by Neighbour recorded that the ditch of the annexe was up to 0.6m in depth and up to 1m in width (Keppie 1995: 332). Analysis of particle size within the fill suggested that the ditch was backfilled fairly quickly, although it was not possible to say whether this was owing to deliberate backfilling or rapid weathering. A small circular scoop of uncertain date or function was recorded in the interior of the annexe, but no datable material was recovered (Neighbour 1998).

R H Jones.

Archaeological Evaluation (27 February 2013)

An evaluation was carried out at Woodlands, consisting of six trenches covering 219m2 (c.9% of the development). One of the trenches contained a ditch with a later re-cut. The ditch was found on the projected alignment of a boundary ditch of the Longforgan/Greenbourne Roman Temporary Camp. The ditch, however, does not form the classic V-shape defensive ditch which has been recorded at other Roman camps or on the previous A90 excavation. A re-cut was noted in the upper fills. No archaeological features or finds were found in any of the other trenches.

Information from Oasis (cfaarcha1-144757) 15 November 2013

Watching Brief (20 June 2013 - 31 July 2013)

Alder Archaeology was commissioned to undertake an archaeological watching brief on the ground breaking for a new residential build at West Meadows, Woodlands, Longforgan. The development area was open ground, centred on NGR NO 3013 3035. The work (Alder site code LF04) was undertaken during the period 20th June to 31st July 2013 in good weather conditions. The development site had archaeological significance as it lies within a 63-acre Roman temporary camp attributed to the campaign of Septimius Severus (early 3rd century). Special attention was paid to the possibility of finding remains relating to the Roman temporary marching camp. The watching brief revealed three general phases of activity. Phase I, the earliest, was a Roman phase revealed in the form of a ditch feature located during excavation for a soakaway to the south of house development area. Phase II was a modern agricultural phase comprising cultivation slots field drains and cultivation soil/top soil located within the footprint of the house and to the S of the house site. Phase III was modern and mainly represented by services and dumped waste materials.

Information from Oasis (alderarc1-169890) 29 January 2014

Archaeological Evaluation (27 March 2013)

NO 30067 30270 A trial trenching evaluation was carried out on 27 March 2013 prior to development. A total of six trenches, covering 219m2 (c9%) of the area, were excavated. One of the trenches contained a ditch with a later recut. The ditch was found on the projected alignment of a boundary ditch of the Longforgan/Greenbourne Roman Temporary Camp. However, the ditch does not form the classic V-shape defensive ditch, which has been recorded at other Roman camps and on a previous A90 excavation. The recut was noted in the upper fills.

Archive: Perth and Kinross HER and RCAHMS

Funder: Mark Wilson

James Lewis, CFA Archaeology Ltd, 2013

(Source: DES)

Watching Brief (5 June 2014 - 1 December 2014)

Alder Archaeology were commissioned to undertake an archaeological watching brief on the groundworks for a new house within a small modern hamlet known as 'The Snabs', Longforgan. 'The Snabs' hamlet has developed around a converted farmstead and labourers' cottages, within open arable land. The development site was a plot on the north-eastern edge of the hamlet centred on NGR NO 29745 30124. The Snabs site lies within the perimeter of a known Roman marching camp (see NO23SE 18) covering 63 acres and presumed to be of Severan date (early third century AD). The watching brief was undertaken during the periods 5th-17th June; 18th-19th November and 1st December 2014. Of importance was the finding of a large, V-shaped ditch feature exposed in the soakaway trenches to the S of the house site. The ditch feature was located at NGR NO 29798 29997 and NO 29800 29995. The ditch was aligned 300 degrees from magnetic north, running approximately northwest-southeast. This was the line anticipated for the perimeter ditch at the southwest corner of the Roman camp.

Other archaeological features found during the watching brief were considered to be post medieval and comprised a possible cultivation slot, a relict soil, a loam deposit and rubble and cobble field drains.

Information from OASIS ID: alderarc1-207928 (R Cachart) 2015.

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