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Gormyre Hill, 'roman Camp'

Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Site Name Gormyre Hill, 'roman Camp'

Classification Enclosure(S) (Period Unassigned), Rig And Furrow (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Wester Gormyre

Canmore ID 47956

Site Number NS97SE 5

NGR NS 9761 7267

NGR Description NS 9761 7267 and NS 9768 7274

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Torphichen
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NS97SE 5 9761 7267

See also NS97SE 95.

(NS 9761 7267) Camp (R) (Supposed Roman)

OS 6" map (1922)

A nearly square enclosure on Gormyre Hill, known locally as the 'Roman Camp'. Its outline is now very faint, consisting of an earthen bank c. 1' high. Nothing has been found in it, and there are no associated traditions.

Name Book 1854

Possibly the structure was no more than a cattle fold.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 1923; MSS, 1953

The remains of a rectangular enclosure, consisting of a low earthen bank, near the summit of Gormyre Hill. It has been built on top of rig-and-furrow and is clearly of later date. Some 80.0m to the NE are the remains of a similar such structure. Neither of these is an antiquity.

Visited by OS (JP) 14 August 1974.


Field Visit (8 November 1952)

"Camp", Gormyre Hill (Inventory No. 385).

The rectangular earthwork on Gormyre Hill is nothing more than a late field boundary or plantation bank. In the absence of any other remains, this enclosure is presumably the supposed "Roman camp" referred to on the OS map (v.SW)

Visited by RCAHMS (KAS) 8 November 1952

Note (5 April 1953)

Enclosure, Gormyre HIll.

Contrary to the statement made in the Inventory (RCAHMS 1929, No.385), the rectangular earthwork on the summit of Gormyre Hill, and which is marked on the OS map as a supposed Roman camp is still visible in toto. It has, however, no claim to be regarded as an ancient monument, being nothing more than a turf-walled enclosure, probably of comparatively recent origin.

NS 976 726

Visited by RCAHMS (KAS) 5 April 1956.

Aerial Photography (December 2008)

This open-ended project that began in 2007 aims to photograph archaeological and potential archaeological sites in West Lothian and to produce images that are readily accessible to those interested in the archaeology and history of the area. In some cases this may lead to more detailed archaeological investigations.

We take photographs with a camera suspended from a kite line at not more than 50m above the ground. Images are captured in visible channels and also in the near infra-red. We are also experimenting with digital ultra-violet photography.

NS 9761 7267 Gormyre Hill The top of the hill appears to show the remains of a circular feature, which contains an enclosure. Kite aerial photography in the visible spectrum, in low sunlight, with a covering of snow carried out in December 2008 has revealed that the enclosure has an internal structure.

For more details see

Archive: RCAHMS (Representative images)

Funder: Rosie Wells and John Wells

Geophysical Survey (16 July 2009 - 31 October 2009)

NS 97587 72649 An area ground resistance survey was carried out 16 July–31 October 2009 over a hill-top site designated as ‘Camp – supposed Roman’ on early OS maps. The survey comprised nine 20 x 20m grids with the ‘camp’ filling the four squares in the SW corner. The topography of the site shows a square with internal N–S and E–W divisions. The survey revealed rows of circular high resistance areas aligned approximately N–S and E–W with, in places, eight in a line across the site. The five grids that surround the four ‘camp’ squares to the N and E do not have similar regular features. The N–S rig and furrow that appears to extend 100m to the N on aerial photographs (OS/78/028 and OS/96/157) makes interpretation difficult. The nine grids could be seen to lie within a circular enclosure nearly 100m in diameter. The camp appears unlikely to be Roman but may be some form of palisaded settlement.

Archive: RCAHMS, West Lothian and WOSAS SMRs (intended)

Funder: EAFS, Dr John Wells

David Jones and Ian Hawkins – Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society

Magnetometry (15 May 2010)

NS 97587 72649

A magnetometry survey was carried out on 15 May 2010 on the site of a supposed ‘Roman Camp’ and an area of 2000sqm around it. The area had been ground resistance surveyed in 2009 (DES 2009, 179). Magnetic anomalies were distributed evenly over the 3600sqm surveyed, suggesting the detection of igneous

glacial erratics and indicating that the high resistances confined mainly to the ‘camp’ area are possibly due to human activity.

Archive: RCAHMS, West Lothian SMR and WOSAS (intended)

Funder: EAFS, West Lothian Archaeology Group and Dr P Morris 2010

Geophysical Survey (2011)

NS 9761 7267 This site has been extensively surveyed using geophysical techniques by the EAFS (DES 2010, 174), Peter Morris and more recently by Jim Knowles of West Lothian Archaeology. The results have been varied and inconclusive.

It is normal practice for West Lothian Archaeology to revisit and re-photograph sites (, and this year the images obtained conformed to an earlier simplistic description of the prominent features. However, the construction of 3D models which can be rotated, clearly reveal the topography of the site. Despite the extensive non-invasive work carried out on this site no firm conclusions have been reached about the nature of this feature. To gain further data, permission has been obtained to sink test pits on the site. Further work will also be carried out using the group's new aerial thermal imaging rig (

West Lothian Archaeology, 2011

Geophysical Survey (2012)

NS 97605 72665 A series of geophysical surveys was conducted on Gormyre Hill on the 16 July 2009 (DES 2009, 179) by EAFS, with further work undertaken by the author on the 8 September 2010. The work was undertaken to investigate the site of a supposed ‘Roman Camp’ as shown on early OS maps. The earth resistance and magnetic data identified no obvious archaeological features and were dominated by responses from the underlying geology and surface vegetation. Further fieldwalking and metal detector surveys were carried out and the site was also monitored using kite aerial imaging in the visible and near infra-red parts of the spectrum. A final intrusive excavation carried out by members of the EAFS and WLAG in September 2012 did not identify any significant archaeological finds or features. The investigations undertaken suggest that Gormyre Hill is part of an old agricultural landscape, with a possible later turf enclosure on the summit.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: West Lothian Archaeology Group

Jim Knowles, West Lothian Archaeology Group



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