Newstead (Trimontium) Temporary Camps 1, 2 and 3

Marching or Temporary Camp

Close to the fort itself, the first camps recorded lie on the ridge to its east (Curle 1911; St Joseph 1958: 87–8). Camp I, originally referred to as ‘The Great Camp’, was subjected to trenching by Curle in 1906–7 and 1909. He recorded a single camp, which he postulated belonged to the 1st century ad, and he did not imply that more than one phase had been found. Since Curle’s excavations, aerial photographs taken since the 1940s have revealed at least three and possibly as many as five camps in this area ( Jones forthcoming 2011 – illus 184). At attempt to entangle the cropmarks from air photographs is made here. Camp I measures 485m by about 435m and enclosed about 21ha (almost 52 acres). Curle recorded four entrances with tituli, three of which can be seen on the air photographs (north-east, south-east and south-west sides). He recorded that the ditch was of varying dimensions, but on average measured some 2.3m in width and 1.5m in depth (Curle 1911: 16). Later excavations in the 1990s recorded a ditch, some 3m in width and 1.8m in depth, which had two phases of use (R F J Jones pers comm). In addition, two Roman cremation burials were found deposited in the south ditch of the camp, which had almost entirely filled up before the burials were cut through, demonstrating that they were therefore later (Curle 1911: 19–20). Three circular hearths were also located in the western part of the camp, but these may be associated with an annexe to the fort because they are within the area where the two overlap (Curle 1911: 18).

Camp II overlaps camp I and the eastern annexes to the fort, but the relationship between these structures is unknown. The north-eastern side of the camp is in almost the same location as that of camp I, but on a slightly different alignment. The camp measured at least 425m from north-west to south-east by at least 405m, enclosing a minimum of 17ha (42 acres). A probable titulus is visible in its north-east side.

Camp III is probably a reduced form of camp I, with a reduction in its north-west and south west sides. This suggests that it measured around 323m from northwest to south-east by 313m transversely, but is slightly irregular in form. Around 9.6ha (almost 24 acres) is likely to have been enclosed. No entrances are known, but it may have utilised some of the gates of camp I. A further two possible camps are recorded in this area (camps VI and VII).

Recent excavations by Bradford University has suggested that none of the camps in the ‘Great Camps’ complex appears to be earlier than the fort, and at least one has two phases (R F J Jones pers comm).

References for Newstead Camps

  • Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) p.57;
  • The Roman Occupation of South-Western Scotland by the Glasgow Archaeol. Soc., ed. S.N. Miller (1952) p.206;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1955-7 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xlviii (1958) pp.87/8;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1958-1960 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. li (1961) p.121;
  • Air Reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72 by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. lxiii (1973) p.216;
  • Britannia xxi (1990) p.313 & fig.7 p.314; Britannia xxv (1994) p.261;
  • Britannia xxvii (1996) pp.403/5 & fig.8;
  • Britannia xxxiv (2003) pp.305/6.

Roman Roads near Newstead Camps

None identified

Sites near Newstead (Trimontium) Temporary Camps 1, 2 and 3