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CAMELON Stirlingshire, Scotland.

About A.D. 140 a Roman auxiliary fort was built 1 km N of the Antonine Wall to guard the point at which the great trunk road to the Tay and Strathmore crossed the river Carron. Occupying the corner of a plateau composed of glacial sand and gravel, the fort faced level ground on the S and W, but on the other two sides it was protected by a steep scarp some 18 m high. Excavation in 1899-1900 showed that the fort was almost square and occupied ca. 2.4 ha.

The rampart, 12.3 m thick, was made of turf and clay, underpinned with stone in many places. On the S and W sides were two ditches, and one on the W half of the N side; no ditches were observed round the rest of the circuit. The four gates were of timber, but their plans were not recovered; three of them were ca. 6 m wide, while the fourth gate, in the E side, was only half as wide. This implies three double carriageways and a single one. Inside the fort, which faced E, a number of stone buildings were identified: a headquarters building with colonnaded front courtyard, cross-hall, and regimental shrine flanked by administrative offices; the commandant's house containing a suite of baths; a granary; several barrack-blocks; and a series of long narrow buildings that may have been barracks, stables, or storehouses. Nothing is known of the garrison, but it may have been an ala quingenaria.

Outside the fort there was a small annex on the N side, and a larger one on the S defended by a rampart and multiple ditches. The latter was only partially explored and has now been almost entirely destroyed. Within it, however, was found a bath building of at least two structural periods; a considerable portion of another stone building, perhaps a mansio, containing a chamber with hypocaust; and fragmentary remains of other structures of stone or wattle-and-daub. The bath building and the mansio are probably of Antonine date, but the discovery in the area of another series of ditches running on a different alignment from those of the fort and annexes, together with the unearthing of substantial quantities of Flavian pottery, suggests that the site of the S annex may previously have been occupied by a Flavian fort. The finds are either in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland or in the Burgh Museum, Falkirk. The only inscribed stone of any significance is a building record of the Twentieth Legion, discovered in the bath house.

Crop marks on air photographs W of the fort have revealed traces of five temporary camps, each defended by a slight ditch and rampart. One, 17.6 ha in extent, was capable of housing two legions on the march, while another, of only 2 ha, was comparable in size to several camps believed to have been used by troops engaged in the construction of the Antonine Wall. Two Roman burials found in a sandpit near Camelon railway station may indicate the course taken by the main road as it approached the Flavian fort.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Proc. Soc. Ant. Scotland 35 (1901) 329-417; 89 (1955) 336-39; Inventory of the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Stirlingshire 1 (1963) 107-12.

K. A. STEER

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