Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roman fort survey reveals new facts … VIDEO REPORT

A SURVEY of land adjoining an important Roman fort site has produced ‘exciting’ results. The significance of the geophysical study of an area close to Birrens, near Middlebie, is now undergoing further extensive analysis by experts at the University of Glasgow. It reveals evidence of an additional Roman camp, next to the fort, possibly including barracks, graneries, stores and other buildings. Further evidence of a distinctive Roman Road leading to and from the fort was also shown.

Dr Richard Jones, senior lecturer in archaeology at Glasgow who led the project, suggested the structures may have been a camp used during construction of the fort or as an annex. He said: “The outcome of this week’s work has exceeded my expectations. Despite terrible wet wather I would say we’ve achieved at least nine out of ten. “There is certainly a case for further investigation being carried out in the future.” The team included archaeologists, students and volunteers and involved sophisticated resistivity and magnetomety equipment which avoids the cost and disruption of a full-scale dig. It was organised by Discovering Dumfries and Galloway’s Past (DDGP), a publicly-funded project aimed at promoting interest and understanding of the region’s history and archaeology.

Development officer Giles Carey, who is based at Crichton Campus, Dumfries, said: “It was great to have so many volunteers with us. They collected some fantastic data. “Together with the University of Glasgow, they have helped us place the surviving earthworks of the fort in a wider landscape context.” An open day based at Middlebie Community Centre on Saturday, which included tours of the site, attracted around 50 visitors who were able to view the initial findings. Mr Carey explained DDGP were planning similar projects across the region. He added: “As the project progresses there will be more opportunities to experience surveying and interpreting archaeology across the region.”