Learchild Roman fort
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006440
Date first listed: 02-Sep-1975
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NU 10080 11348
Learchild Roman fort, 770m south east of Thrunton Lowfield.
Reasons for Designation
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. Although built and used throughout the Roman period, 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 and are extremely rare south of the Severn Trent line. 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.
Learchild Roman fort is preserved as a cropmark or very low earthwork. Partial excavation has shown that the remnant ramparts and below ground features such as ditches will contain important archaeological deposits relating to the construction, development, use and abandonment of the monument. The fort contains two constructional phases and therefore provides insight into the development in Roman military fortifications between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. More widely the monument also provides insight into the Roman conquest of northern England.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 1 June 2016. This 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 includes the remains of a sequence of two Roman forts, situated on a slight rise overlooking Coe Burn to the west. The earliest fort is a rectangular enclosure, which was defended by two double ditches with a width of approximately 2.4m and spaced 2.4m apart. The east side of the fort measured at least 76m in length and the north side at least 39.6m. The later fort was a larger rectangular enclosure which completely encompassed the first fort and measured at least 231.6m along its east side and 39.6m on its north side. The enclosure was surrounded by a single ditch 4.6m wide and a clay rampart 7m wide. Both forts are preserved as intermittent very low earthworks or cropmarks. Partial excavation of the forts retrieved pottery from the ditches dated to the 1st and 2nd century AD. During the Roman period, Learchild Roman fort is believed to have had the place name ALAVNA.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ND 573
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 7241
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