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Balmakewan

Temporary Camp (Roman)

Site Name Balmakewan

Classification Temporary Camp (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Ad Tinam; Balmakewan House Policies

Canmore ID 35912

Site Number NO66NE 5

NGR NO 6657 6667

NGR Description Centred NT 6657 6667

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/35912

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Marykirk
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Kincardine And Deeside
  • Former County Kincardineshire

Archaeology Notes

NO66NE 5.00 centred 6657 6667

NO66NE 5.01 NO 663 668 Enclosure

(Name: NO 6657 6667) Roman Camp (R) (site of)

OS 252 map, (1974)

The greater part of this Roman camp, shown by Chalmers as Richard of Gloucester's 'Ad Tinam', is visible on aerial photographs. (cf NO66NW 12)

J K St Joseph 1969; G Chalmers 1808; Visible on RAF air photographs CPE/Scot/UK228: 3014-15 and F22/82/RAF1020: 0051-2 and on CUCAP D 96

No ground traces.

Surveyed at 1:2500 from air photographs.

Visited by OS (A A) 8 September 1971.

Roman Camp, Balmakewan: This temporary camp, probably one of those used in the Severan campaigns (c. AD 208-11), is situated immediately NW of Balmakewan house at the confluence of the River North Esk and the Luther Water. Roughly trapezoidal on plan, it measures about 850 by 600m over all (at least 46 ha). Although most of the perimeter was first identified from cropmarkings, the N angle and considerable portions of the adjacent sides can still be traced as earthworks in a conifer plantation. The positions of only three gates have so far been identified: the southernmost on the NW side, and the central gates on the SW and NE; the latter is guarded by a titulum.

RCAHMS 1982.

NO 6676 6658 A watching brief was carried out in January 2006 during the replacement of an electricity pole at Balmakewan Farm, the site of a Severan Roman Camp. The replacement pole was located some 300m NE of Balmakewan House. No archaeological features or finds were evident.

Report lodged with Aberdeenshire SMR and NMRS.

Sponsors: SSE Power Distribution.

J C Murray, 2006.

Activities

Watching Brief (January 2006)

NO 6676 6658 A watching brief was carried out in January 2006 during the replacement of an electricity pole at Balmakewan Farm, the site of a Severan Roman Camp. The replacement pole was located some 300m NE of Balmakewan House. No archaeological features or finds were evident.

Report lodged with Aberdeenshire SMR and NMRS.

Sponsors: SSE Power Distribution.

J C Murray 2006

Publication Account (17 December 2011)

Chalmers placed Richard of Cirencester’s ‘Ad Tinam’ on the River North Esk, and illustrated it close to the location of Balmakewan (1807: i, 124, Map). However, thereafter it apparently disappeared from the literature and is absent from Crawford’s thorough treatise on Roman Scotland (1949). St Joseph rediscovered the camp from the air in 1967 (1969: 112).

The camp is situated on the north bank of the River North Esk, close to the Luther Water, some 4.5km ENE of the Flavian fort and camp at Stracathro, and south-east of the modern A90. It lies on ground that slopes gently to the north, away from the river. and which comprises largely arable fields around the farm of Balmakewan, with a wood covering its northern portion. Parts of the northeast, north-west and south-west sides are recorded as cropmarks on air photographs, and tituli are visible in the centre of the north-east side and in the southern part of the north-west side, suggesting that the camp probably had six entrances in total. The section of the north-west side in the wood is not visible, probably destroyed by forestry ploughing, but a small part of the north-east side survives as an earthwork, partly owing to the presence of a deepcut forestry drainage ditch on what is presumably the line of the ditch. The rampart here survives up to 4.7m wide and 0.4m high, although the forestry has eroded parts of it in places. The camp is not quite rectangular in form,

measuring about 844m from north-east to south-west by about 665m transversely, enclosing some 55.9ha (138 acres). Two small trenches were excavated by St Joseph in 1967 and 1980 on the south-east and north-east sides respectively, confirming the location of the ditches on those sides, although probing failed to locate the southern part of the south-east side. The ditch is recorded as measuring up to 2.4m in width and 0.75m in depth (RCAHMS St Joseph Collection: Notebooks 4, 8).

St Joseph’s notebooks allege that he discovered part of the south-east side in a trench dug to the west of Balmakewan House (at NO 6684 6643), and he depicted a line on his plan (RCAHMS DC 37247). He noted that he failed to locate the ditch farther to the south by probing. No part of the south-east side is visible on air photographs, and the eastern end of the north-east and south-west sides suggest that the side lies farther to the east than depicted by St Joseph. It is possible that the ditch that he dug does not represent the south-east side of the camp, and that this side does indeed lie farther to the south-east.

R H Jones 2011

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