Doune, Roman Fort And Annexe

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Alternative Names Castle Hill; Castle Of Doune; Doune Roman Fort; Doune Primary School
Canmore ID 24767
Site Number NN70SW 36
NGR NN 7273 0130
Former Region CENTRAL
Former District STIRLING
Former County PERTHSHIRE
Datum OSGB36 - NGR
NGR Desc Centred NN 7272 0130
Form Cropmark

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Notes and Activities Click to sort results by Event date ascending

Archaeological Notes

NN70SW 36 centred 7272 0130

'Aerial reconnaissance in 1983 located a Roman fort on Castle Hill between the town and the Castle of Doune overlooking a covenient crossing-place on the river Teith.
Final excavation has confirmed that the fort was guarded on the E by a triple-ditch system whose terminals curved inwards in a form characteristic of Flavian structures elsewhere in N Britain. Its size
is probably not more than 2.6ha with in the ditches, but the position of the western defences has still to be confirmed. The site, which appears to have undergone a single period of occupation, may indicate the place at which the main Roman road from the isthmus to the north crossed into Caledonia.'
G S Maxwell 1984.

Further aerial reconnaissance shows that over the ramparts the dimensions of this fort are c 160m NE-SW by 140m, an area of 2.25ha (5.6 acres). A crop-mark extending from the W angle towards the River Teith may indicate an annexe. (Information from G S Maxwell).
S S Frere 1985.

For newspaper accounts of discovery see under 'Archaeological Organisations - RCAHMS' (File of newscuttings etc)
(Undated) information in NMRS.

NN 727 013 An archaeological excavation was undertaken in the playing fields of Doune Primary School, which is located within the site of Doune Roman fort. The intervallum way was identified in the form of a gravel-built road. The complete ground plans of two buildings were recovered as well as the partial foundations of several others. These may represent the hospital block. Several large pits were identified and excavated; it is likely that these formed part of the demolition of the fort once it went out of commission. Five bread ovens were identified, built into the back of the rampart. Pottery associated with the investigated features appears to date to the 1st century AD. This conforms with the Flavian date previously attributed to the site.
Sponsor: Stirling Council.
C Moloney 1999.

Scheduled as 'Doune Roman Fort... 60m S of Doune Primary School... the buried remains of a Roman fort, visible from the air as cropmarks...'
Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 26 April 2011.


Notes NN 727 012
Resistance and magnetic surveys were conducted on the parts of the Roman fort which have not been built upon, along with an external area to the E. The data obtained was partly obscured by interference from modern features, such as fences, pipes, paths and a cricket square, but a reasonable view was obtained.
The work revealed the SW and NW gates, to add to the known SE gate and although the remaining (NE) gate could not be covered, it was possible to extrapolate its position to beneath the main entrance gate to Doune Primary School. Past aerial and excavated indications that the fort had a triple ditch system were confirmed and, unusually, this now seems likely to have passed around all four sides. Moreover, the NW gate had a so-called ‘parrot beak’ ditch
break, to parallel that already known at the SE gate. The SW gate was located approximately one third of the way along the fort’s long axis from the E, which suggests that the praetentura lies in the E and that the fort faces SE, down the Teith valley. Sections of the rampart were visible in the magnetic data, and appeared to show inward turns at the gates, so that the gates themselves would have lain at the end of rampart re-entrants. This seems to be becoming a regular feature of forts with parrot beak ditch breaks and makes sense as a defence mechanism; since the ever narrower funnel produced would disrupt an attacking formation. Inside the fort, areas of what seemed to be the internal street grid
could be identified. A series of circular features immediately behind the rampart were probably ovens. A radar timeslice (15 x 15m) and profile (25m) in the SE corner of the fort confirmed the line of an internal street and a section of the
intervallum road. Outside the fort, a small group of ring features at the top of a steep bank that slopes down to the Ardoch Burn may represent roundhouses.
Archive: RCAHMS and The Roman Gask Project
Funder: Historic Scotland
DJ Woolliscroft and O O'Grady 2010

Further details

26 August 2010 to 27 August 2010

Notes NN 7280 0136
An excavation was carried out 26–27 August 2010 in a garden to the E of Doune Primary School, in advance of a proposed development by Stirling Council. The
majority of the excavated remains relate to a Roman fort that dates to the Flavian occupation of Scotland between AD 80 and 86–7. Some features, including a ditch and postholes, predate the fort and are thought to be prehistoric. A full section through the defences on the NE side of the fort was exposed, revealing three ditches and remains of the turf rampart. Cobbled surfaces relating to the intervallum road were recorded. A group of shallow pits between the road
and the rampart contained evidence for metalworking. In the interior of the fort, part of a timber building was excavated which is interpreted as a cavalry barracks block. Numerous large pits were excavated inside the building and between it and the rampart. The pits inside the building probably post-date its main phase of occupation, and may represent gravel quarrying or improvised latrines, pointing
to a partial abandonment of the fort.
Archive: RCAHMS
Funder: Stirling Council
P Masser 2010

Further details

15 May 2012

Notes On 15th May 2012 Alder Archaeology undertook a watching brief (Alder code DE01) on the site of excavations required for a buried low voltage cable and associated new wooden pole and stay. The site was considered to have archaeological potential due to its close proximity to the 14th century Doune Castle and the nearby Roman Fort. Spoil from the excavation was scanned for finds with a metal detector. A fragment of a medieval spur and some pieces of leather were recovered from the excavation for the stay pit. Apart from the spur, nothing of archaeological significance was found during the watching brief. The work was fully funded by Scottish and Southern Energy.
Information from Oasis (alderarc1-127375) 2 September 2013

Further details

Books and References

Breeze, D J (1991) 'Agricola in the Highlands?', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.120
Page(s): 58

Chapman, Hunter, Booth, Wilson, Worrell and Tomlin, E M, F, P, S, and R S O (2009) Roman Britain in 2008 Britannia, vol.XL London
Page(s): 219-363

Frere, S S (1984) 'Roman Britain in 1983. I. Sites explored', Britannia, vol.15
Page(s): 275

Frere, S S (1985) 'Roman Britain in 1984. I. Sites Explored', Britannia, vol.16
Page(s): 252-316

Keppie, L J F (2000) 'Roman Britain in 1999. 1. Sites explored. 2. Scotland'. Britannia, vol.31
Page(s): 381

Masser, P (2010c) 'Doune Primary School, Stirling (Kilmadock parish), excavation', Discovery Excav Scot, New, vol.11 Cathedral Communications Limited, Wiltshire, England.
Page(s): 167

Maxwell and Wilson, G S and D R (1987) 'Air reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-84', Britannia, vol.18
Page(s): 17 Held at RCAHMS E.10.MAX.P

Maxwell, G (1984e) 'Doune (Kilmaddock p). Roman fort', Discovery Excav Scot
Page(s): 4

Maxwell, G S (1984a) 'New frontiers: The Roman fort at Doune and its possible significance', Britannia, vol.15
Page(s): 217-23

Moloney, C (1999) 'Doune Primary School, Doune (Kilmadock parish), Roman fort', Discovery Excav Scot
Page(s): 87

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