Gask House Tower and Temporary Camp

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

The Tower

No. 4 [Gask House] lies 10 yards south of the road, a little to the east of the entrance to the large camp at Gask, and only a few yards in front of its trench. It is the smallest of the circular posts, being only 80′ in diameter, the inner area measuring 35′. The trench is only 3′ deep. Here again black mould covered the whole inner area, and four post-holes 2′ deep were found in the centre defining a rectangular space of 9′ by 7′.

Large Camp or Station

This camp is very clearly laid down in a plan accompanying an anonymous account of 1789. It is situated about a quarter of a mile north-west of Gask House on the south side of the Roman road and of Gask House Tower (marked “f” on plan), 50 yds from the road and 4 or 5 from the post, which is about the same distance eastward from the traverse guarding the north entrance of the camp. The plan shows a perfectly regular rectangle, somewhat defective on the south side, enclosed by a single entrenchment, the contained area being about 470′ by 400′, or nearly the same as that of Ardoch Station. The Portae Principales are represented much nearer the north than the south end, and both these and the Porta Praetoria have straight traverses in front of them.

All knowledge of this camp seems to have vanished before the Ordnance Survey was made, and we could only find slight traces of it on the surface. In the old MS plan the whole area is shown planted and surrounded by wood, but the southern quarter had afterwards been ploughed, and there no sign of the camp was visible. In the northern part, too, we experienced some difficulty in identifying the camp ditch, as many drainage ditches crossed the space, but by making numerous cuts, the whole, even on the ploughed land, was made out, corresponding closely with the old plan, with the addition that the fourth traverse, the one in front of the Porta Decumana, which was not laid down on it, was also found. As the main ditch and the ditches of the traverses were not more than 3′ wide and 18″ deep, the spoil having been used apparently for the trifling rampart in rear of the trenches, the whole was suggestive of the first marking out or beginning, of a camp rather than of a finished work. Ploughing had brought the clay to the surface in the southern part, and the roots of the thick plantation in the northern part prevented. much excavation there, but the cuts that were practicable revealed nothing in the interior.

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