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Falkirk, Camelon

Fort (Period Unassigned), Palisaded Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Falkirk, Camelon

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned), Palisaded Enclosure (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 46922

Site Number NS88SE 24

NGR NS 8632 8115

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Falkirk
  • Parish Falkirk
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Falkirk
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

NS88SE 24 8632 8115

(NS 8632 8115) Fort (NR) (site of)

OS 6" map (1967)

Air photographs reveal the crop marks of a native fort in the N corner of the plateau on which stand the Roman forts of Camelon (NS88SE 23).

It was excavated in 1961 by an extra-mural class of Edinburgh University under Miss E Field, who confirmed that it was bounded by four concentric ditches, visible on A Ps as running in a curve from the NW edge of the plateau to within 50' of the NE edge, where there may have been an entrance. Within the interior, which measures about 150' N-S by 200' E-W, were found the foundation trenches of an oval house, greatest diameter 40', a rectangular structure, possibly an open enclosure, and a round house cut through the foundation trenches of the above. All the pottery discovered, without stratigraphic relations to the structure, was Roman, from the adjacent fort.

S Cruden 1961; RCAHMS 1963, visited 1953.

There is no trace of this promontory fort. Recent quarrying on the NW side has exposed sections of two ditches.

Site surveyed at 1:1250.

Visited by OS (DWR) 8 February 1974

The site has been entirely destroyed by old quarrying. The overall size, the internal round houses and the possible palisade nature of the concentric ditches, suggest this was a homestead rather than a fort.

Visited by OS (JRL) 15 April 1980

Full excavation report of this native site illustrates that there were three phases of occupation, represented by two circular timber houses, with part of a rectilinear structure, possibly of Roman origin, between. A complex defence system was revealed, but could not be related to the sequence of occupation of the site which was apparently in use during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The three substantial ditches suggest a fortification rather than a homestead, although by analogy it is probably an earlier homestead with palisade ditches, later fortified more strongly.

E V W Proudfoot 1980.


Reference (1957)

This site is noted in the ‘List of monuments discovered during the survey of marginal land (1951-5)’ (RCAHMS 1957, xiv-xviii). The 286 monuments were listed by county, parish, classification and name, and the list included an indication of whether they had been planned (P), whether they were visible only as a cropmark (C), and whether they were worthy of preservation (*).

Drawings are catalogued to individual site records. Investigator's notebooks are availiable in the MS collection. Site descriptions are availiable in contemporary RCAHMS inventories, or in three typescript volumes availiable in the library.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 24 October 2012

Note (17 August 2014 - 23 May 2016)

The remains of a fort revealed by cropmarks on a promontory along the escarpment of an ancient shoreline, was destroyed by gravel extraction in 1961. Excavations immediately prior to its destruction uncovered at least three concentric ditches and the lines up to five palisade trenches, probably representing a series of successive enclosures cutting off the relatively easy southern approaches to the promontory. Estimates of the original size of the interior range widely, from 60m from E to W by 45m transversely by RCAHMS investigators (RCAHMS 1963, 80, no.82) to 82m by 73m respectively by the excavator (Proudfoot 1978, 115), and 75m by 65m scaled from the plan (Proudfoot 1978, 114, fig 2), though the latter shows the internal houses slightly large than the measurements given in the text; nevertheless, the area enclosed behind the inner ditch, which was over 6m in breadth and 4m in depth, was at least 0.3ha in extent, and in at least one phase there was probably an entrance on the SSE. The stratigraphic relationships between the three ditches are unknown, nor indeed with the palisade trench that lay between the inner and middle ditches, and it is possible that any one of these lines may represent the remains of an independent defence enclosing a larger area. At least three other palisade trenches enclosing smaller areas were also located within the interior, and within the inner of these was a large timber round-house 14.6m in diameter, which had been erected on the site of an earlier oval structure measuring about 14m by 11m. While the finds from the floor of the later round-house and two adjacent pits broadly fall in the 1st-2nd centuries AD, it is likely that the multiple lines of ditches and palisades found here represent a much longer chronology of occupation and fortification.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1544


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