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Roman Fort (Roman)

Site Name Bothwellhaugh

Classification Roman Fort (Roman)

Canmore ID 45661

Site Number NS75NW 2

NGR NS 7307 5777

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council North Lanarkshire
  • Parish Dalziel
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Motherwell
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS75NW 2 7310 5775.

(NS 7310 5775) Roman Fort (R) (remains of)

OS 1:10,000 map, (1978).

The Roman fort of Bothwellhaugh occupies a strong defensive position at the W end of a broad, level promontory, protected on the NW and SW by an abrupt fall of 16m to the banks of the South Calder Water and the River Clyde respectively. There is an extensive area of flat ground between the fort and the equally steep NE flank of the promontory. The easiest access was by way of the comparatively narrow neck of the promontory on the E. The site is at present obscured by a dense growth of scrub, and only the SE and NE ramparts can still be clearly seen above ground, the former appearing as a grassy bank standing 1.5m in maximum height and spread in places to a thickness of more than 15m, the latter, 1.1m in average height, being partly masked by a modern track and a field boundary that cut obliquely across it.

Excavation showed that the fort was trapezoidal on plan; its dimensions over the rampart were approximately 152m by 131m and it occupied an area of 1.65ha (4.1 acres). The main defence had been a clay rampart measuring from 7.2m to 8.1m in thickness, the inner and outer face of which were originally supported by a stone base. There was evidence to show that at some time the rampart front, at least on the NE, had been repaired. It is possible that the curious stepped appearance of the rampart foundation on the SW may also have resulted from a secondary repair. The ditches varied in number and dimensions: two were considered necessary on the more vulnerable NE and SE, but apparently only one on each of the remaining sides; at Roman ground-level the ditches measured from 5.2m to 1.5m in width and from 1.2m to 0.6m in depth, the deepest and widest being found on the SE front. The positions of all the entrances except that on the SW have been approximately determined by excavation but none has been examined in detail. Little is known about the street plan or the internal buildings, save that some structures at least were of timber and exhibited two structural phases. (See NS75NW 23 for associated bath-house).

RCAHMS 1978, visited 1973; J M Davidson 1952; RCAHMS 1967; 1968

When visited in 1953, the site was under scrub and the SE and SW ramparts of the fort were seen as a much spread low mound varying from 10 to 20m in width and 0.7m high. The NW side was only recognisable at its N end, about 0.2m high and spread to 10m. A pathway overlies the NE rampart which is spread to about 12m but is 1.2m above the field to the N. There are no indications of the ditches, and no internal features were visible.

Visited by OS (JLD) 10 September 1953.

Centred NS 7307 5777. The remains of the fort, which lie in the new Strathclyde Country Park, are covered by scrub vegetation and rough grassland.

The SE rampart is very pronounced being approximately 1.2m high and spread to a width of up to 15.0m. The courses of the double ditches on its E side are now only visible as a 20.0m wide shallow and amorphous reed-filled depression. The SW rampart averages 0.7m in height and it is spread to 10.0m in width. There is no evidence of the NW rampart but a line of sunken concrete cisterns near its course indicates extensive mutilation of this area during the military occupation in the 1940s. The course of the NE rampart is at least partially covered by the old hedgerow and metalled path which now indicate its line. None of the entrances can be positively identified on the ground although slight lowerings of the NE and SE ramparts may indicate their positions and a dip in the path on the NW side is probably the site of the gap.

The outlines of many of the backfilled excavation trenches can still be detected.

Surveyed at 1:1250.

Visited by OS (MJF) 7 March 1980.

A watching-brief by Scotia Archaeology, during excavation of a sewer trench 120m NW of the defences and c.34m N of the external bath-house showed that the ground had been comprehensively disturbed; no archaeological activity of any kind was observed.

L J F Keppie 1995


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