Roman camps at Greensforge
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006118
Date first listed: 07-Feb-1953
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Staffordshire (District Authority)
District: South Staffordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SO 86271 88403, SO 86298 88692, SO 86395 88530
Roman camps and forts at Greensforge.
Reasons for Designation
Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as practice camps. Most campaign camps were only temporary overnight bases and few were used for longer periods. They were bounded by a single earthen rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp and often protected by additional defensive outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most known examples lie in the midlands and north. As one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by the Roman Army, particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas, they provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation. All well-preserved examples are identified as being of national importance. Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army. In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the accommodation of troops and convoys in transit.
The majority of forts were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second centuries AD. Some were only used for short periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways, towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was a gradual replacement of timber with stone. Roman forts are rare nationally. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally important.
The Roman camps and forts at Greensforge survive well and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the Roman military strategy and occupation of the period.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 11 June 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a complex of Roman camps and forts situated between the valley of Smestow Brook on the west and valley of Dawley Brook on the east. Two double-ditched rectangular forts sit on a plateau between the two streams and have been identified through aerial photography. The southern fort covers an area of up to 1.6 hectares with outworks to the north and east, occupying a prime defensible position. The northern fort is of similar size and has an annexe and an outwork. Limited excavations have indicated a Claudian-Neronian date for the two forts. Between the two forts cropmarks have revealed two camps which appear to be earlier than both forts. The larger of the two camps is represented by its north east and section of its south east side and its north north-east ditch appears to change direction at a central causeway. The smaller camp is defined by the cropmark of a ditch within the north west corner of the larger camp and may have covered an area of up to 0.4 hectares. About 320m north east of the northern fort, the corner of another camp has been identified, presumably crossed by the Roman road to Water Eaton. This site has not been positively identified and is not included in the scheduling. To the west two larger rectangular temporary camps form part of a separate scheduling. Further assessment is required to ascertain the relationship of the various sites identified in this important Roman stronghold.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ST 36
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing