Normandyke Marching Camp

Marching or Temporary Camp

The Normandykes camp overlooks an ancient fording across the Dee, immediately N of Tilbouries in Grampian. This near-rectangular camp spans roughly 860 by 510 meters (940 by 560 yards), encompassing around 106 acres (43 hectares) on the summit and eastern slopes of a hill. From this vantage point, it overlooks the River Dee and the B9077 road to the south. The camp’s aerial images, captured between 1947 and 1976, are preserved in archives.

Positioned about six miles north of the Raedykes camp, it’s estimated that Normandykes is less than half a day’s march away. However, considering the terrain and the need to bypass the Red Moss bog near Netherley, the actual journey might have taken a full day.

Initially misidentified as Norman’s Dyke and thought to be a Danish Camp in 1795, it was correctly reclassified as Roman in the New Statistical Account of 1845. The camp was first excavated in 1935 by Richmond and MacIntyre, and it’s believed to have been constructed during the Antonine or Severan periods.

The camp’s location is atop a broad hill above the old River Dee ford. Today, no remnants of the camp’s west, south, and east sides are visible in the cultivated fields. On the latter side, starting from the bend of the wood at NO 8340 9949, a modified earth bank with a slight east-side ditch extends northwards along the wood’s edge to its northeast corner. This bank seems to continue south-westward from the bend, following the wood’s edge, suggesting it might be a later plantation bank. From the northeast corner, a wide bank accompanied by a north-side ditch stretches westwards along the wood’s edge. Here, the bank is about 6.0 meters wide and approximately 2.0 meters high, with a flat top around 3.0 meters wide; the ditch is 4.0 meters wide. As it moves westward, the bank’s condition deteriorates and starts resembling a plantation bank near the wood’s northwest corner. Past a point where a stream intersects the bank, roughly 400 meters west of the wood’s northeast corner, the ditch becomes untraceable. A scarp about 1.4 meters high continues from the northwest corner of the wood to the northwest corner of the camp. No internal features of the camp have been identified within its area.

There are similarly sized camps at Raedykes, Kintore, Ythan Wells and Muiryfold.

References for Normandykes Camp

  • Roman Britain in 1935 in J.R.S. xxvi (1936) p.237;
  • Topography of Roman Scotland North of the Antonine Wall by O.G.S. Crawford (Cambridge 1949) pp.110-2, & figs.28/9;
  • Air Reconnaissance of North Britain by J.K. St. Joseph in J.R.S. xli (1951) p.65; Britannia ix (1978) p.277; D.E.S. 1998 p.5

Map References for Normandykes Camp

NGRef: NO8299 OSMap: LR38/45

OS National Grid Reference: NO8299
Dimensions: 2,814 x 1,629 ft (858 x 497 m)
Area: >106½ acres (>c.43.5 ha)

Roman Roads near Normandykes Camp

None identified

Sites near Normandyke Marching Camp