Smeaton Roman Temporary Camp, Dalkeith
- HER number: MEL8378
- Site Name: Smeaton Roman Temporary Camp, Dalkeith
- Grid Reference: 334451 669115
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Temporary Camp (Iron Age, Late Prehistoric, Late Iron Age, Prehistoric, Roman)
- Pit (Iron Age, Late Prehistoric, Late Iron Age, Prehistoric)
- Summary: Roman temporary camp
- Description: NT36NW 33 centred 3454 6916
See also NT36NW 54.
(Name: NT 3454 6916) ROMAN CAMP (R) (site of)
OS 6" map (1968)
(1) A Roman temporary camp has been observed N of Dalkeith, represented by a length of some 950' of its N side, including a gate with tutulus.
J K St Joseph 1965
(2) Further information has been gleaned about this camp, of which only part of the N side, including a gate, was known. The rounded NW angle and a length of some 600' of the W wide can not be added. More information can be expected under favourable crop conditions.
J K St Joseph 1973
(3) There are no ground surface remains of this camp.
Visited by OS (SFS) 16 April 1975
(4) Photographed by the RCAHMS in 1979.
(5) Cropmarks on the S side of the district boundary, to the SE of Pickle Dirt steading, have revealed what may be lengths of the SE and SW side of this camp (see also NT36NW 54).
(6) (7) NT 345 692 area. An excavation was conducted between November 1994 and January 1995 across the Roman Temporary Camp (RTC) at Smeaton, within the proposed road corridor of the A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass. Seven trenches totalling c7500 square metres in area were excavated within the c60m wide road corridor running for c400m between the River Esk and Salters Road. Archaeological features of Roman, prehistoric, post-medieval and modern origin were recorded. Those demonstrated to be of pre-medieval date were entirely restricted to the areas of gravel subsoil adjacent to the river. To the E of this, where a heavy clay subsoil was present, only a dense spread of cultivation furrows and land drains was identified.
Only the western alignment of the RTC perimeter ditch was located in Trench 1. A continuous length of 57.5m of this feature was exposed, through which 13 sections were excavated. The ditch was most substantial at the northern end of the trench, where it was 3.5m wide and 1.7m deep, with a V-shaped profile and indications of a squared channel at its base. No evidence was identified for any structural complexity within the ditch. It had not been deliberately backfilled. No trace of an adjacent rampart survived. Finds from the ditch include a carved sandstone block, a fragment of stone armlet and a chip of flint, all from the uppermost ploughsoil fill. The absence of the opposite, eastern, ditch alignment of the RTC accords with the cropmark evidence- either this feature was never dug or it has not survived later cultivation.
Three linear features and a series of pits were identified in the vicinity of the western RTC ditch. Artefact recovery and stratigraphic relationships indicate that at least some of these features are of pre-Roman origin. The linear features, c0.2m deep, were truncated by the RTC ditch: they may be some form of cultivation furrow (1018, 1113, 1125). Two large pits, 2.5m and 3.0m long and each c1.5m wide by 0.3-0.5m deep, containing primary deposits of burnt cereal grain and charcoal, are provisionally identified as cooking pits or ovens (1076, 2027). Pending further analysis, these features can be interpreted as being of either Roman or native in origin. The remaining pits were generally sub-circular, measuring between 0.5m and 1.5m across and less than 0.5m deep. Few showed evidence of multiple fills and none had been recut. Several sherds of coarse, native pottery were recovered from pits 2016 and 2017.
Sponsor: Roads Directorate of The Scottish Office Industry Department and managed on its behalf by Historic Scotland.
A J Dunwell 1995.
NMRS REPORT DATE: 22/02/2000
(8) In May to July 2006, CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook excavation of a 52m stretch of the Smeaton Roman Temporary Camp perimeter ditch, within the corridor of the A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass. This ditch had been partly excavated in 1994-5.
(9) Further reporting, collating the information from the excavations undertaken at Smeaton Roman Temporary Camp in 1994 and 1995, and 2006, was undertaken (SAIR 44, 2010). Together with the Roamn camp ditch, several features were excavated during the course of the works which pre-date the Roman activity on site.
Two conjoined pits contained several sherds of pottery from a siblge vessel of likely Neolithc date. The vessel is thought to have been brocken in the immediate vicinity of the pits. Other undated pits were recorded during the excavation, which may be associated. Other prehsitoirc activity in the area of the excavations is suggested by the presence of Late Mesolithc ot Easrly Neolithc chipped stone artefacts recovered from more recent contexts, and a piece fo wroked jet or lignite which may be Late Neolithc or Early Bronze Age. Fragmetns of a shale or cannel coal bangle have a broad date range, but may also be of prehisdtoic origin.
The partial excavation of the Roman camp remains showed that either the northern and eastern perimeter ditch was never fully ocnstructed, or theat these setions have been entiely lost through later disutbace or truncation. Exacavation fo thwe the western permiter ditch
- For more information contact: MidLothian Council HER
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- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Article in serial: Cameron, K; Cressey, M; Duwell, A; Mitchell, S; Rees, A; Strachan, R and Suddaby, I. 2010. Excavations on the Route of the Dalkeith Northern Bypass, 1994-95 and 2006.
- Bibliographic reference: St Joseph, J K. 1974k. 'Dalkeith, Roman camp', Discovery Excav Scot 1974, p.47. 47.
- (1) Bibliographic reference: St Joseph, J K. 1965a. 'Air reconnaissance in Britain, 1961-4', J Roman Stud Vol. 55 1965, p.74-89. 80.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: St Joseph, J K. 1973. 'Air reconnaissance in Britain, 1969-72', J Roman Stud Vol. 63 1973, p.214-46. 216.
- (3) Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Site Visit.
- (5) Bibliographic reference: RCAHMS. 1988. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Midlothian (prehistoric to early historic), Midlothian District, Lothian Region. 26, No.109.
- (6) Bibliographic reference: Dunwell, A J. 1995d. 'Smeaton, near Dalkeith (Inveresk/Dalkeith parish), Roman temporary camp and prehistoric features', Discovery Excav Scot 1995, p.55. 55.
- (7) Unpublished document: Dunwell, A J. 1995. Smeaton Roman Temporary Camp, A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass, Midlothian District.
- (8) Unpublished document: Suddaby, I et al. 2007. A68 Upgrading; Dalkeith Northern Bypass, East Lothian / Midlothian: Archaeological Evaluation, Excavations, & Designed Landscape Recording.