Witch Knowe Tower – Report on the excavations in 1900

The full text can be found in D.J.Christison “The Roman Road and Adjoining works from Ardoch to the Earn”, PSAS, 35, 1901.

No. 5 [Witch Knowe, plan] is about 100 yds to the north side of the road. The site is marked “Witch Knowe, Skeleton found here in 1855”, on the O.M., but there is no natural knoll, and the “Knowe” must refer to the very slight mound formed by the post itself; neither were any human remains revealed by our very complete excavation. The total diameter is 108′, of which 44′ go to the inner area, and 14′ to the ditch, and 18 to the [upcast] mound on either side. The ditch is 6′ deep, a considerably greater depth than in any of the others, and the mound beyond is only 2′ above the exterior. The interior rises slightly towards the centre and was covered with a thick layer of black mould without visible fragments of wood No trace of a rampart or palisade at the edge could be found. Nearly in the centre were four round “post-holes” about 18″ in diameter and 2′ deep, defining a rectangular space of about 11′ by 9′, measuring from the centre of the post-holes.

These post-holes were filled with a dark coloured earth, which was thus reported on by Mr H. F. Tagg:- “The contents of the post-hole are sand with a large quantity of organic remains. Among the latter I find pieces of charred wood varying in size, but none larger than 1/8″ square. The bulk of the organic dust present is such as might result from the disintegration of a woody structure, but the fragments are too small to identify the kind of wood.”

The entrance to the post is from the south, the direction of the road, by a straight earthen ramp, 6′ wide.

A long term research project to study the Romans north of the Antonine Wall