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INCHTUTHIL Perthshire, Scotland.

An isolated plateau on the N bank of the Tay, 8 km SW of Blairgowrie, is the site of a complex group of Roman remains, comprising a 20 ha legionary fortress, almost square in plan; a temporary camp of about the same size; a linear earthwork cutting off the approach to the fortress from the SW; a stores compound of nearly 2 ha; and a residential compound for senior officers supervising the construction work. The linear earthwork and the outlines of fortress and stores compound are still partly discernible, but the other works have been completely buried.

Excavation in 1952-65 showed that the fortress was begun by Agricola, probably in A.D. 83, and abandoned in an unfinished state, probably in A.D. 87. The defenses consisted of a turf rampart fronted by a stone wall 1.5 m wide, a ditch 6 m across, and an external upcast mound with obstacles on the crest. The N gate had been destroyed by the erosion of the scarp on which it stood, but the other three gates were of the same design, twin carriage-ways flanked by timber towers each 6 m square. The internal buildings were almost entirely of wattle-and-daub in timber framing. In the center was the headquarters building, 48 m square, its courtyard bordered at the front and sides with internal and external colonnades. Behind the courtyard was the cross-hall, and then a row of administrative rooms on either side of a central shrine. In the NE quarter the principal building was a hospital, containing 60 wards in two ranges separated by a corridor. The complementary position in the NW quarter was occupied by a large construction shop, a courtyard building with workshops on three sides and a row of five rooms on the other. Before the evacuation a quantity of worked iron, including 12 tons of unused nails, had been buried in the front range to prevent it from falling into the hands of the native tribesmen. Also in this quarter of the fortress there were four centurion's houses, with a larger house for the primus pilus.

The main roads were bordered on both sides by colonnaded storerooms, but on the E side of the via praetoria the line of storerooms was interrupted by a drill hall, an elaborate building with porch, nave, aisles, and ranges of rooms at the sides and back. Four tribune's houses were identified in the praetentura, two on either side of the via praetoria, while distributed throughout the fortress were 64 large barracks for the 54 centuriae of nine quingenary cohorts and ten centuriae of one milliary cohort. Six large granaries were also found, carried on dwarf walls with a portico at each end. Although the accommodation for the legionaries had thus been completed, much still remained to be done. The legate's house, which was to have stood on the E side of the principia, had not been begun, although the site had been leveled in preparation for it. Two more tribune's houses and probably two more granaries awaited erection, while the area behind and around the principia was undeveloped. Moreover, a small bath house built for the use of officers in the residential compound still lacked its hot water system. Evidently, therefore, the headquarters staff had not yet left their old location when work was suspended. There is no proof of the garrison for whom the fortress was intended, but it was almost certainly the Legio XX. When the site was evacuated the fortress was deliberately dismantled, the main timbers removed for use elsewhere, the stocks of pottery destroyed, and the drains and sewers filled up. The finds from the excavation, and from earlier exploration in 1901, are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland.


Proc. Soc. Ant. Scotland 36 (1902) 182-242; annual summaries in JRS 43-56 (1953-66).


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