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Temporary Camp (Roman)

Site Name Bankhead

Classification Temporary Camp (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Bankhead 1; Carnwath

Canmore ID 47615

Site Number NS94NE 23

NGR NS 98288 45008

NGR Description Centred NS 9835 4515

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Carnwath
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS94NE 23 centred 98288 45008

Examination of the aerial photographs of this site suggests that on its N side the line of the camp may partly coincide with the boundary of Bank Wood NS c.984 452.

In addition, on the east side the line of the camp runs virtually parallel with the present field boundary. The OS 1st Edition 6-inch (Lanarkshire 1864, sheet xxvi) reveals a plantation at this point and it seems likely that the eastern boundary of the plantation was laid along the line of the rampart. At the intersection of the 19th century road with the E side of the camp there is a marked kink in its course; the most likely explanation of the kink is that the 19th century road is utilizing one of the original gateways to the camp and deviates to avoid a titulus.

Visited by RCAHMS (CAA) 13 February 1990.


Publication Account (17 December 2011)

The two camps at Bankhead Carnwath lie on a terrace above the Medwin Water, close to its confluence with the upper reaches of the River Clyde, and above a dismantled railway which ran to nearby Carstairs Junction. The fort and camps at Castledykes lie some 5km to the west, with the camp at Carstairs Mains in between, and the fortlet of Carnwath only 1km to the west. The two camps overlap one another and were first recorded from the air as cropmarks by St Joseph in 1977 (RCAHMS 1978a: 160).

Camp I is the larger of the two and measures about 511m from north to south by about 393m transversely, although there is a marked change in alignment in its

western side, which may have been matched on its eastern side. The southern part of this side runs on the line of an older plantation visible on the OS 1st edition map (Lanarkshire 1864: sheet xxvi), and the eastern part of the north side of the camp is probably represented by the edge of Bank Wood. It therefore seems likely that the plantation utilised the existing Roman earth-works for its boundary in places. The camp probably enclosed some 18ha (45 acres). The north-west corner of the camp bulges slightly in an unusual manner, reminiscent of the corner turrets found on late-Roman fortifications.

The modern road changes its alignment and exhibits a noticeable kink where it enters the east side of the camp; this may reflect the position of a gate. A titulus is visible in the centre of the southern side and the eastern kink may

be so positioned to avoid a titulus on this side.

Camp II is closer to square in form, measuring about 356m from east to west by 330m transversely, enclosing 12.2ha (30 acres). The cropmark of this camp is narrower than that of camp I, suggesting that it had a slighter ditch. As with camp I, part of the perimeter of Bank Wood appears to continue part of one side of this camp (the west). A gate with a titulus is visible in the centre of the north side, and there is a corresponding entrance gap in the centre of the south side.

The relationship between the two camps is unknown, but they are clearly not contemporary, and the fact that they do not share a single side might indicate a reasonable time gap between them, or a penchant by the military commanders for constructing new camps in their entirety. The quarry pits of the Roman road from Lyne to Castledykes are recorded through cropmarks between the camps and the fortlet to the west, and presumably ran through both camps, although no quarry pits have been observed in their interiors.

R H Jones 2011


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