martes, 25 de junio de 2013

Search continues for Roman fort of the northern frontier

Archaeologists will next week begin the search for an elusive Roman fort believed to be located somewhere in the northeast of Scotland.
Dr Birgitta Hoffmann, Co-Director of The Roman Gask Project, based at the University of Liverpool, will lead a team of experienced volunteers in their search for a Roman fort which is believed to exist, but has been ‘missing’ for almost 2,000 years. It’s not certain that a fort actually exists, but if it does, it is likely to lie somewhere between the last known (and most northerly) fort at Stracathro (Brechin) and the northeast coast.

Rome’s first frontier

Locating the fort would be the first such discovery beyond the Antonine Wall in 30 years, and would form another piece of the Gask frontier. The Gask Ridge system was constructed sometime between 70 and 80 CE long before either Hadrian’s Wall (122-130 CE), and the Antonine Wall (142-144 CE). Although the Gask Ridge was not an unbroken defensive wall, it may be Rome’s earliest fortified land frontier based on forts and watchtowers along a military road. Blocking the glens with garrisoned forts disrupted the Caledonian tribes ability to raid the fertile lowlands and effectively created a border between Roman occupied lands and the north and west.
This Roman land frontier stretches from just north of Stirling up to Stracathro. The frontier comprises of a series of Roman forts and watchtowers, with a legionary fortress near Blairgowrie.

Using the latest techniques

The archaeologists will be using a variety of non-invasive techniques to investigate various sites. Any sites which have the potential to be Roman will then be investigated by the Project from the air later in the year, with the potential for a follow up excavation in 2014.
Dr Hoffmann described the survey as exciting, commenting ,
“We know they built forts as far north as Brechin, and we even have evidence that they marched as far as Elgin, but that’s it, but we think there’s much more than that. The problem is that they weren’t around long enough to build buildings out of stone, instead they used timber and turf which tends to disappear over time. So instead of just looking for lumps and bumps in the ground, we have to look at the local geography, old settlements, and a host of other evidence which will help us to pinpoint likely sites.
“People are always surprised when I tell them about the Roman occupation of the area – they think the Romans never got any further than the Antonine Wall or even Hadrian’s Wall. The truth is, we don’t know how far north they got, but we’re hoping that the work of The Roman Gask Project will change that this year.”
The Roman Gask Project has been running since 1995, and during that time revealed an ever changing picture to the northern frontier.
Source: Roman Gask Project

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