Roman camp and prehistoric round cairn 700m north-east of Bellshiel Bridge

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011414

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Jan-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Roman camp and prehistoric round cairn 700m north-east of Bellshiel Bridge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Rochester

National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND

National Grid Reference: NY 81832 99818

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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, although as many as eleven have been recorded. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive outworks. Roman camps are found throughout much of England, although most known examples lie in the midlands and north. Around 140 examples have been identified and, 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.

Despite some damage by later boundaries, the Roman temporary camp at Bellshiel survives well and is a good example of its type. It is one of a network of camps in Redesdale associated with Dere Street and the fort of High Rochester and will contribute to our understanding of the Roman occupation of Northern Britain.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a Roman temporary camp and a prehistoric round cairn situated on the top of a near-level ridge 400m west of Dere Street Roman road. The camp is sub-rectangular in shape with rounded corners and measures a maximum of 490m east-west by 330m north-south. It is surrounded by a substantial earthen rampart 3m wide and up to 0.5m high which has been obscured on the north side by a field bank and levelled at the south- eastern corner by ploughing. There is a 3m wide and 0.4m deep external ditch on all sides except the south where it is believed that the nature of the underlying rock prevented the digging of a ditch. Gateways are located in the east and south sides. The former is protected externally by a detached length of rampart known as a traverse, situated at a distance of 10m, blocking the direct line of access into the camp. The southern gateway has an internal clavicula, an inturned extension of the rampart. Gateways in the north and west sides of the camp have been obscured by later field banks. There are no Roman features visible within the camp but traces of occupation will be preserved beneath ground level. The banks which are visible within the camp are later field boundaries and bell pits, created by early mining, which have no association with the Roman camp. The camp dates from the Roman occupation of Britain in the first century AD and is large enough to have been used periodically on a temporary basis by a full strength legion of soldiers advancing northwards and also by smaller groups engaged in routine maintenance. A round cairn of Bronze Age date is situated inside the camp on the highest part of the ridge. It measures 8.5m in diameter and is 0.7m high. The north side of the cairn has been damaged by military trenching. The surface of the road which clips the south-western corner of the camp is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 20944

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Richmond, I A, 'Northumberland County History xv' in The Romans in Redesdale, (1940), 122-123
Other
NY 89 NW 04,

End of official listing