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Historic England Research Records

Cawthorn D

Hob Uid: 917116
Location :
North Yorkshire
Ryedale
Cropton
Grid Ref : SE7815090000
Summary : Earthwork remains of a Roman fort of probable late first and early second century AD date. It is the most westerly earthwork of a complex of two forts, one with a later annexe, and a temporary camp. Recent excavations (1999-2000) have revealed the rampart of Fort D to comprise two phases. The outer defensive ditch, which cuts through the defences of Camp C, is thought to belong with the second phase of rampart of D. The first phase of Fort D is thought to pre-date and possibly overlap with the construction of Camp C. Photographs taken in 1925 show that the northern half of the interior of Fort D was ploughed for an unknown duration, this appears to have had a significant effect on the survival of any internal features in this area. The southern half of the interior does contain some depressions and fragments of banks, but the date and function of these is uncertain.
More information : This camp has been re-assessed in connection with RCHME's survey and publication of Roman Camps in England. The following descriptive account is taken from the published text.
SE 7815 9000 (FCE). Previously recorded with SE 79 SE 45; now
assigned unique identity.
The earthworks consist of four major elements. A camp, C, of unusual polygonal design, is partly overlain by a slightly later fort, D, which is probably datable to the late 1st century (NAR SE 79 SE 45; Jones 1975, 140-1 (1a)). To the E of the camp are two structures which have often been classified as camps; on balance, however, the more westerly of the two is best regarded as a fort, A, which was subsequently provided with an annexe on its E side, thus forming a much larger defended area, B. The earthworks were excavated between 1923 and 1929 (Simpson 1926 (1b); Richmond 1926 (1c); 1929 (1d); 1932 (1e)). The identifying letters A-D usually ascribed to the earthworks are retained here, but most of the highly speculative functions and relationships put forward by Richmond have now been discarded. Certainly there seem to be no overriding reason to consider the sites as practice works. The few finds suggested that occupation may not have continued later than c AD 120.

Richmond's excavation (1932, 49 (see auth 1e)) showed that the fort, D, immediately to the W, was constructed later than camp C, the SE angle of the former overlying the defences of the latter. This is surprising, for the fort occupies the better position, on a slight knoll on the crest of the escarpment. That being so, unless the visible earthworks of fort D had some form of predecessor in the same general position, thus restricting the choice of site available to the builders of camp C, it is unclear why the site of the camp was chosen at all. The postulated existence of a predecessor to the fort would go some way to explain why the NW angle of the camp is cut off in such an unusual way. Further, the dead ground to the N of the lip of the escarpment begins only 30 m from the NE defences of camp C, an exceptional arrangement, whether or not the camp had serious defensive intent. The construction of fort D would not seriously have undermined the effectiveness of the defences of camp, and thus its continuing occupation. The agger of a lightly metalled road (Richmond 1932, 21, 51 (see auth 1e)), linking forts D and A, curves round the N side of camp C; if this road is of Roman date it may suggest that the camp remained in use at the same time as the forts were occupied. If fort and camp were not contemporary in use, at least in part, the gap in the defences at the NW angle would have provided ready access to the camp. Further excavation is required to resolve these questions. Full information is included in the NMR Archive. (1)

An air photographic evaluation (2-3) was undertaken by the EH Aerial Survey section, in conjunction with the Metric Survey section, as part of a wider research project investigating Cawthorn Camps from 1998-2002. In addition to the air photographic work, this research has included geophysical survey, topographic survey of Fort A and Annexe B, and two seasons of excavation. (4-5)

Photogrammetric survey using specially commissioned, large scale air photographs has enabled the production of a detailed plan of the earthwork remains at a scale of 1:500 and an accuracy of 10cm or below. Rectification of this plan with other photographs for the site has enabled further interpretation of the earthworks. In particular, use of photographs taken in 1925 of the excavations undertaken by Simpson, Kirk and Richmond in the 1920s (see sources 1b and 1e), has enabled the positive identification of many extant earthworks on site as remains of the 1920s trenches and spoil heaps. These excavations were particularly extensive in Fort A and Annexe B, but also affected Fort D and Camp C. Similarly, features attributable to World War II activity have been identified from photographs dating to 1945 and 1946, including some features within and close to the southern part of Fort D which may represent the bases of nissan huts or other structures. New earthwork features, some as little as 10cm in height, have been recorded in the interior of the forts, camp and annexe, although Fort D still has the least evidence for internal structures of any date. Many of the internal embanked enclosures and linear banks, particularly those in Camp C, Fort A and Annexe B, are tentatively thought to be of one general phase and possibly contemporary with the main defences; this theory is based on observations on form, alignment and condition of features. The features occurring within the interior of Fort D are so fragmentary that it is difficult to discern whether they form part of any system. (3)

However, the date of many of the interior earthworks is yet to be proven. Richmond (source 1e) considered them to be Roman in date, military in nature and contemporary with the main defensive earthworks. More recent research (6-7) has proposed a post-Roman date for some of the features, in particular, the system of streets and enclosures in the south-east of Annexe B, also certain of the pits excavated by Richmond which he termed as 'officers' dugouts'; these latter features are now considered to represent possible sunken featured buildings of early medieval date. The air photographic interpretation has identified further depressions across the site which require further investigation as potential sunken featured buildings.

The excavations undertaken in 1999-2000 by Dr P.Wilson (EH) comprised ten trenches three of which investigated Fort D. One was located where the defences of Fort D, at its south-eastern corner, overlap those of Camp C. This investigation revealed a two-phase construction for the rampart of Fort D, with the outer ditch, which cuts the defences of Camp C, probably belonging to the second phase. The inner ditch of Fort D proved to be of four phases. It is suggested that phase 1 of Fort D pre-dated and possibly overlapped with the construction of Camp C. If an overlap of use did occur, this could partly explain the odd plan of the camp at its north-western extent which would have allowed for continued access to the east gate of fort D. The excavation of the defences of Fort D also uncovered a modern trench cut into the rampart, which is thought to be associated with World War II training activity which occurred on site. Other depressions in Fort D, also in Fort A and Annexe B, may well prove to be further World War II activity. (3) The second excavation trench was located in the interior of Fort D in its northern half which air photographs taken in 1925 show was ploughed for an unknown duration (2-3). The ploughing had disturbed the soil to a depth of about 0.35m and appears to have destroyed any archaeological features which may have been present. The air photograph interpretation did not identify any features in the northern half of Fort D, apart from one which is considered recent in date, so it would appear that the episode of ploughing has had a drastic effect on survival of internal earthworks. The third trench in Fort D was located in its unploughed, southern half, but uncovered only a few small pits and some disturbed stone, possibly indicating the presence of a structure close by. (8-9)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Humphrey Welfare and Vivien Swan/1994/RCHME: Roman Camps in England Project.
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Source Number : 1a
Source : Roman fort-defences to A.D. 117, with special reference to Britain
Source details :
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Vol(s) : 21
Source Number : 6
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : Lee, G. 1997. 'Cawthorn Roman Military Complex'
Page(s) : 260-7
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Vol(s) : 54
Source Number : 7
Source : Annexe B, Cawthorn Camps, Pickering, North Yorkshire : earthwork survey, interim report
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Source Number : 8
Source : Ryedale historian
Source details : Wilson, P. and Lee, G. 2000-1. 'Cawthorn Camps; Trial Excavations 1999'
Page(s) : 05-Aug
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ryedale historian
Source details : Wilson, P. and Lee, G. 2002-4. 'Cawthorn Camps 2000 - Interim Report'
Page(s) : 30-Mar
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Vol(s) : 21
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Source : Cawthorn, Fort D and Camp C/profiles
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Source : Cawthorn Camps, North Yorkshire: Air Photograph Evaluation
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Source : Cawthorn, 1975-77/ink survey
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Source : Cawthorn, Fort D/profiles
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Source : Cawthorn/contour survey
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Source : Cawthorn/profiles key
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Source Number : 1b
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : Simpson F G `The Roman camps at Cawthorn, near Pickering'
Page(s) : 25-33
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Vol(s) : 28, 1925-6
Source Number :
Source : Cawthorn, 1975-77/pencil survey
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Source Number : 1c
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : Richmond I A `The Roman camps at Cawthorn, near Pickering'
Page(s) : 332-9, 421-6
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Vol(s) : 28, 1925-6
Source Number : 1d
Source : The Yorkshire archaeological journal
Source details : Richmond I A `The Roman camps at Cawthorn, near Pickering'
Page(s) : 90-6, 225-31, 327-31
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 29, 1927-9
Source Number : 1e
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : Richmond I A `The four Roman camps at Cawthorn, in the North Riding of Yorkshire'
Page(s) : 17-78
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 89, 1932
Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Stone, J. 1999 'Cawthorn Camps, North Yorkshire. Air Photograph Evaluation' (Phase I)
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Stone, J. 1999. 'Cawthorn Camps, North Yorkshire. Air Photograph Evaluation' (Phase II)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson, P. and Lee, G. 1999. 'Cawthorn Camps, North Yorkshire. Project Design for Trial Excavations'
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Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Wilson, P. and Lee, G. 2000. 'Cawthorn Camps, North Yorkshire. Assessment and Revised Project Design'
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NY 518
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 24436
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SE 79 SE 67
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1012169
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: CAWTHORN ROMAN CAMP, FORTS AND ANNEXE
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CAWTHORN CAMP D
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: CAWTHORN CAMPS AIR PHOTOGRAPH EVALUATION, PHASE I
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1999-08-01
End Date : 1999-11-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: CAWTHORN CAMPS AIR PHOTOGRAPH EVALUATION, PHASE II
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2002-12-31