The Romans established sizable garrisons here at Castledykes Fort in both the Flavian and Antonine periods. The superimposed remains of their successive forts lie on the edge of the escarpment 60m SE of Corbiehall farmhouse. Although almost the entire perimeter of the defences can be traced above ground, the only substantial remains are on the E, where the rampart survives to a maximum height of 1.5m above the level of the interior.
Most of our knowledge of the history of the fort derives from excavations carried out between 1937 and 1955 (A S Robertson 1964), but air photographs have revealed the presence on the same plateau of at least three temporary camps and four enclosures now totally levelled by cultivation.
Flavian Fort at Castledykes
Although two subsequent occupations had destroyed or obscured much of the defences, excavation showed that the Flavian fort, which faced S, measured internally about 174m by 160m. The rampart, built of turf and earth, was at least 6m thick, and in front of it were from two to five ditches. The relatively shallow innermost ditch was 2.3m in average width, but the original dimensions of the rest are uncertain, since they were recut in the Antonine period.
Antonine Fort at Castledykes
The fort built on the same site about AD 142 differed little from its predecessor in plan and internal dimensions, but the addition of an outer revetment of turf increased the thickness of the rampart to 9.1m. All the ditches that had protected it in the Flavian period were now recut, with the exception of the hook-ended ditch on the W front and the narrow innermost ditch, both of which were packed and levelled, the latter to provide a firm base for the stone-cradled face of the new rampart. The Antonine ditches varied considerably in size, measuring from 2.7m to 12.0m in width and from about 0.8m to 2.7m in depth.
References for Castledykes
- Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) p.57;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1951-5 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlv (1955) p.85;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1955-7 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlviii (1958) p.89;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1961-64 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lv (1965) p.80;
- Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1973-76 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxvii (1977) p.133;
- Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) p.30 & plate.VIII;
- Britannia xix (1988) p.429 & fig.10 p.430; Britannia xxi (1990) p.312;
- Britannia xxiv (1993) p.281.
Map References for Castledykes
NGRef: NS9244 OSMap: LR71/72
Roman Roads near Castledykes
NW (16) to Bothwellhaugh (Clydesdale)
ESE (18) to Lyne (Borders) via Bankhead
Probable Road: WSW (22) to Loudoun Hill (Clydesdale)