The Antonine Cavalry Fort at Carzield Farm was excavated in March 1939 by E. Birley and I.A. Richmond who uncovered an Antonine cavalry fort of some 6½ acres (c.2.6ha). The fort measures some 560 feet by 500 feet (c.170 x 152 m) over the rampart and was seemingly aligned towards the north-west. The fort was constructed of turf and timber and defended by an external double-ditch system on all sides except the south-east where there were three. Unfortunately, all evidence of the fort’s interior administrative and accommodation buildings had been completely levelled and replaced by a medieval tower which was later converted into a farmhouse before itself being levelled. Carzield Farm lies within the fort’s northern angle, Carzield lodge occupies (and has destroyed) the entire western quadrant, Glebe House lies just within the southern angle and the eastern quadrant of the fort now lies under permanent pasture; the entire site is scheduled. The defences at the southern corner-angle along with 300-foot (c.100m) lengths of the two adjoining sides are all that remain visible to the modern visitor. There is a small annexe attached to the north-eastern side of the fort which is visible on aerial photographs and may become apparent at certain times of the year as vegetative marks.

Possible Vicus Civil Settlement

Aerial photographs taken in 1952 revealed the existence of a possible civilian settlement or vicus to the north-east of the fort but no corroborating surface remains were recorded during a topographical survey in June 1964; a small bath-house was discovered and excavated (in this area?) in 1956. A large, clay-lined pit located to the north of Carzield House and excavated in 1968 may be associated with the suspected civil settlement. In addition, an enclosure located to the north-east of the fort discovered on aerial photographs taken in 1983, may represent the temporary encampment of the legionary detail which built the auxiliary fort itself.

The Dateable Pottery Evidence

There is no dateable evidence other than that of Antonine Period I (c.142AD – 158), so it seems that Carzield was garrisoned only during the first occupation of the Antonine Wall, very likely in support of its western supply-route. The Roman road north-westwards between the forts at Ladyward and Drumlanrig passes by the Carzield fort about ? miles to the north.

The pottery evidence recovered from the Carzield site includes samian bearing the stamps of six Antonine potters; Albucius Form 37, Felix Form 18/31, Luppa Form 18/31, Mammius Form 33, Matugenus Form 33, Peculiaris Form 27. A large selection of the finds discovered during the Carzield excavations are now on display in Dumfries Museum.

Nearby Roman Sites

There are several Roman military works in the neighbourhood, many of which are clustered around the forts at Dalswinton in Nithsdale to the north-west (NX9384). In addition, there is a temporary marching camp to the north at Gallaberry (NX9682) and another to the north-east at Amisfield (NX9984).

Map References for Carzield

OS National Grid Reference: NX968818
Dimensions: c.560 x 500 ft (c.170 x 152 m)
Area: c.6½ acres (c.2.6 ha)

References for Carzield

Roman Roads near Carzield

None identified

Sites near Carzield Roman Fort