Roman fortlet 320m east of Highstones

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019061

Date first listed: 07-Sep-2000

Map

Ordnance survey map of Roman fortlet 320m east of Highstones
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Location

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

County: Derbyshire

District: High Peak (District Authority)

Parish: Tintwistle

National Park: PEAK DISTRICT

National Grid Reference: SK 06428 99012

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Roman fortlets are small rectangular enclosures with rounded corners defined by a fortified rampart of turf and earth with one or more outer ditches. The ramparts were originally revetted at the front and rear by timber uprights in shallow trenches and were almost certainly crowned with timber wall walks and parapets. Fortlets were constructed from the first century AD to at least the later fourth century AD to provide accommodation for a small detachment of troops generally deployed on a temporary basis of between one to two years and supplied by a fort in the same area. The function of fortlets varies from place to place; some were positioned to guard river crossings or roads, particularly at vulnerable points such as crossroads, whilst others acted as supply bases for signal towers. Roman fortlets are rare nationally with approximately 50 examples known in Britain, half of which are located in Scotland. As such, and as one of a small group of Roman military monuments which are important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, fortlets are of particular significance to our understanding of the period and all surviving examples are considered nationally important.

The Roman fortlet 320m east of Highstones is a particularly rare and well preserved example of this type of monument in Derbyshire. The small scale quarrying of sections of the rampart and platform does not detract from the importance of the site or the archaeological potential of the monument. Deposits in the base of the ditch, the makeup of the rampart, the buried land surface beneath the rampart and any sub-surface features will preserve important artefactual and ecofactual material. Such material is important to the understanding of the construction and use of the fortlet as well as the impact of the Roman occupation on the wider landscape.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Highstones Roman fortlet. The monument is situated at approximately 250m above sea level on a gentle, south facing slope to the north of Torside Reservoir. The site commands extensive views for at least five miles east and west along Longdendale and would have been ideal for controlling the southern exit of Crowden Brook Valley.

The monument survives as a sub-rectangular enclosure with rounded corners, a shape which is characteristic of Roman fortification construction. The enclosure measures approximately 48m by 52m and is surrounded by a rampart and external ditch with a low bank running along the outer edge of the ditch on the western side. The ditch is V-shaped in profile and measures between 6m and 10m wide. The rampart also measures about 10m wide but is only clearly evident on the north and west edges of the enclosed platform. Irregular earthworks in the north east and south west corners of the platform suggest that later, small scale quarrying may have removed sections of the rampart. A causewayed entrance is visible mid-way along the southern side of the monument but the details of this have been distorted by a dry stone wall which has been built across the monument from east to west. A second wall bisects the monument from north to south. Neither wall respects the earthwork and it is possible that some stone used in their construction was obtained from the small quarry scars on the internal surface of the platform and rampart. A fragment of quern stone thought to be of Roman date was found incorporated in the stone walls.

All modern gates and dry stone walls are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them 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: 29972

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Ellison, P, Contour Survey of ditched feature at Highstones, Tintwistle1-10
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey, (1984), 90

End of official listing