Girvan Mains West Temporary Camp

Marching or Temporary Camp

Girvan Mains West Temporary Camp was discovered from the air and investigated on the ground in 1981, this camp was found to possess a typical Roman military V-shaped ditch about 4¼ ft. (1.3 m) wide with a drainage slot in the bottom. A fragment of a glass jug-handle found in the ditch is probably of first-century date.

Given the location of this camp and Girvan Mains East Temporary Camp, on the north bank of the Water of Girvan near its mouth, it would appear that these camps were part of the military operation directed against the Novantae tribe of the Galloway peninsula by the energetic Roman governor Julius Agricola c. A.D. 81. If the intention had been to mount an offensive towards the north it would be more advantageous to have encamped to the south of the Girvan, in both scenarios the river being used as a defensive barrier. It is possible that camps did once exist to the south of the river-mouth with all evidence of their existence obliterated by the town of Girvan, but this is just speculation.

Either way, with no evidence of Roman roads anywhere in the local area, it is most likely that these large encampments were established and supplied by use of the British Fleet, the Classis Britannica, operating out of a base (or bases) situated somewhere along the Cumbrian coast of north-west England, perhaps Gabrosentum or Alauna Carvetiorum.

References for Girvan Mains Camps

  • Britannia xiii (1982) p.339;
  • Britannia xiv (1983) p.289;
  • Britannia xv (1984) p.276;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) pp.34/5;
  • Britannia xxii (1991) p.230;
  • Britannia xxv (1994) p.257 & fig.7 p.259;
  • Britannia xxvii (1996) p.401.

Map References for Girvan Mains Camps

NGRef: NX1999 OSMap: LR76

OS National Grid Reference: NX188991
Dimensions: 700+ x 450+ ft (213+ x 137+ m)
Area: c.51 acres (c.21 ha)

Roman Roads near Girvan Mains Camps

None identified

Sites near Girvan Mains West Temporary Camp