Loudoun Hill Roman Fort

Flavian Auxiliary Fort (AD 69–96)

Excavations have revealed that the small fort at Loudoun Hill went through as many as four phases of occupation during the first century. A temporary fort, rather more than an acre in area, defended by a ditch and perhaps a palisade, was followed by a second enclosure, defined by a large ditch cutting off the level summit of the plateau (1 1/2 acres) from rest of the hill. An annexe, also of about 1 1/2 acres, was attached to this enclosure. No buildings were associated with either of these periods. After part of the site had been levelled, a permanent fort, measuring about 260ft by 475ft within the ramparts, was laid out and equipped with timber buildings. The next period was marked by a complete rebuilding of the commandant’s house. Some sheds were also rebuilt, but the rest of the fort did not appear to be involved in the reconstruction.

In the Antonine period, the fort was equipped with a new ditch system and on one side, a broader rampart, but only here and there had traces of internal wooden buildings survived. To judge from the small finds, which included two silver coins of Domitian, a bronze lamp, querns and iron work, the Antonine occupation was not a prolonged one. The proportion of Flavian to Antonine pottery is high. Filled-in sleeper-trenches and empty holes from which the main gate-posts had been pulled out, indicated a deliberate demolition when the site was finally abandoned.

Occupation continued until the turn of the second century after which all Scottish forts were abandoned and the Roman army pulled-back to the line of the Stanegate in Northern England. The suspected road east passes very close to the temporary marching camp at Cauldcoats (NS6941), about 6 miles distant.

The entire defensive system covers an area of about 3½ acres (1.4 ha). Aerial photographs taken in 1953 showed that a double-ditched annexe attached to south-east side of the fort measured about 400 x 200 ft. within the ramparts, giving an extra occupation area of just over 1¾ acres (0.74 ha). The fort and annexe has now been lost to extensive gravel-quarrying.

The pottery sherds recovered from the site included pieces stamped by four South-Gaulish potters. There are single examples of Cosirus Form 27, Iucundus Form 18, Peregrinus Form 18, and another Form 27 piece marked OF.S[…, which cannot be positively identified. South Gaulish decorated ware was recovered but the presence of Flavian-Trajanic material is uncertain.

References for Loudoun Hill

Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1951-5 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlv (1955) p.86

ENE (6) to Cavldcoats Probable Road: ENE (22) to Castledykes

Sites near Loudoun Hill Roman Fort