Suspected Roman Fort

Cawdor, Easter Galcantray, Highland Region

NGRef: NH807483
OSMap: LR?
Type: Fort
Roads
none

Discovered from the air and first reported in 1984, this suggested Roman fort lies on the south bank of the River Nairn, its northern defences now eroded by the river. Excavated by Prof. G.D.B. Jones during 1985-8, the camp was seen to be defended by a large "Roman type" U-profile ditch about 13¼ ft. wide and 7½ ft. deep (c.4 x 2.3 m); there is evidence of re-cutting at the butt-end of the ditch near the south-east gateway. The rampart was 12¾ ft. (3.9 m) wide (on the west side), set on a base of large cobbles and revetted in timber front and back, the post-holes (at the rear) spaced c.5¼ ft. (c.1.6 m) apart.

At the south-west angle an eight-posted corner-tower was uncovered, measuring 16 ft. by 17 ft. (4.6 x 4.9 m). The SW gateway was found to be a six-posted structure just over 14 ft. (4.3 m) wide, with evidence of two structural phases. The post holes of a rectangular building 24 ft. wide and at least 80 ft. long (7.3 x 24.2 m) were uncovered in the interior of the encampment, and another row of smaller post-holes situated 8¾ ft. (2.7 m) further west may have been the weather-porch of a Roman-style barrack-block. On the eastern side of the roadway fronting this building was a similar structure. Other buildings have also been recorded, one of which, about 21 ft. (6.4 m) wide near the south-west angle yielded a blue-glass melon bead in one of its post-holes.

A single fragment of Roman coarse ware was found in the bottom of the ditch outside the south-west gateway along with burnt material; this pottery has very similar fabric to that found at Inchtuthill. In addition to this sparse pottery evidence, the demolition deposits in the western ditch yielded a piece of charcoal which has been radiocarbon dated to A.D.80-130 (Calibrated).

Click here for a map of Cawdor from StreetMap.co.uk

See: Britannia xvii (1986) p.370;
Britannia xviii (1987) p.309;
Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) p.34;
Britannia xix (1988) p.425;
Britannia xx (1989) p.265.

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