The Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort had at least two phases of construction was observed in the north-eastern rampart during excavations in 1967-8. These digs placed three main trenches across the north-eastern defences at widely-spaced points and another nine supplementary trenches to trace the defensive circuit. An attempt was also made to uncover the north-eastern gateway but unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, the planned excavations were severely curtailed due to the British climate.
The defences consisted of a turf and clay rampart 23½ feet (7.16m) thick, supported on thick sandstone foundation slabs, part of which was preserved to a height of around 5ft (1.5m). A 33 ft (10m) wide berm separated the fort wall and the first of two ditches, each measuring about 15ft (4.6m) wide and 4ft (1.2m) deep, and spaced 7ft (2.1m) apart. The fort is not square or rectangular in plan, but a rhomboid, with no two sides or angles the same, its four corners being roughly aligned towards the cardinal points. The axial dimensions are roughly 460 x 415 feet (140 x 126 m), enclosing an area of about 4¼ acres (1.7ha), large enough for a cohors quingenaria equitata, a mixed unit of infantry and cavalry of a nominal five-hundred troopers and squaddies.
Although expected, there is no Flavian-Trajanic decorated ware recorded at Bothwellhaugh. Antonine occupation is attested by potters stamps of Cassius Form 33 and Crobiso Form 33. On this evidence, and the fact that two construction phases were recorded during excavations, the fort is thought to have been occupied during both Antonine Period I (c.142AD – c.158) and Antonine Period II (c.158AD – c.162).
References for Bothwellhaugh
- The Roman Occupation of South-Western Scotland by the Glasgow Archaeological Society (1952) pp.172-187 & plates.lvii-lxii;
- The Roman Occupations of Scotland by B.R. Hartley in Britannia iii (1972) pp.1-55;
- Excavation at the Roman Fort of Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire, 1967-8 by G.S. Maxwell in Britannia vi (1975) pp.20-35.
Map References for Bothwellhaugh
NGRef: NS7357 OSMap: LR64