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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
I love it when you put your neck on the line like that Nathan...... one big one or go home..... I don't know if it is a Roman feature, looks OK-ish to me. If it is, there is no point in having it on the forward slope like that unless it's covering the approach to something else on the ridge top, hence I think if it is some earthwork-age then it is part of a complex, not a stand alone feature. So I'll take it as a potential reinforcement of a multi-camp scenario. In this case such a feature covers the ridge approach, the dead ground to Castle Dykes and is overlooked by and within range of any "bolt flingers" at the Dykes and Weedon Hill. Lovely interlocking fields of fire for a defender with their back against the wall.

That said in a world that is so unpredictable these days it's great to have some constants... happy 2017. Shy (going home for a big one)
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I was going to ask a very "simple" question: which year was the battle.

The reason I ask is that I make it 61AD based on Tac Ann 12.29
"In the consulship of Caesonius Paetus and Petronius Turpilianus, a serious disaster was sustained in Britain,"

Then looking at Wikipedia list of Roman Consuls this puts it in 61AD. However if people are suggesting another date, then this means either Wikipedia is wrong (the reason I was checking dates in the first place) or there's another way of calculating the date of the battle.
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Nathan convinced us all it was 61AD earlier in the thread but I can't find the ref now.
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(01-13-2017, 10:42 AM)John1 Wrote: I love it when you put your neck on the line like that

No neck-putting required! The Romans constructed large marching camps all over the empire, so there's no reason to think they could not or would not have done the same here. Why would Paulinus have wanted to break his quite small force into even smaller units and camp them separately all around the crest of a ridge in the Midlands, in order to defeat a massive tribal rebellion in Anglia and south-east? But we both know our respective positions on this!

(01-13-2017, 10:42 AM)John1 Wrote: (going home for a big one)

TMI!


(01-13-2017, 12:18 PM)MonsGraupius Wrote: people are suggesting another date


As you say, Tacitus is quite clear that the revolt happened 'in the consulship of Cæsonius Pætus and Petronius Turpilianus', which is AD61. The redating of the revolt to AD60, first proposed in 1878, was popularised (along with the 'cavalry dash' idea) by Dudley and Webster in 1962. However, Kevin Carroll's The Date of Boudicca's Revolt (Britannia, Vol 10, 1979) provides a very convincing argument that the events happened when Tacitus said they did

Tacitus tells us that Turpilianus had 'just laid down his consulship' when he was nominated to replace Paulinus - ordinary consuls usually served for the first six months of the year, so if the revolt happened in 60 Turpilianus wouldn't have been able to take over command in Britain until the autumn of the following year at the earliest. Also, we know that his colleague Pætus arrived in Armenia for his own ill-fated governorship in 62.

Despite this, as Timothy Barnes says in Ammianus Marcellinus and the Representation of Historical Reality, "many modern students of Roman Britain have shown a perverse resolve to reject Tacitus' explicit and emphatic date for the rebellion in favour of 60 simply because he notes that Petronius Turpilianus had relinquished his consulate before he was sent to Britain to replace Suetonius Paulinus."

I did wonder a few pages back whether the revolt might have started in autumn 60 and continued into 61, but after further thought it seemed less likely. So it seems that 61 was the year of the revolt, and it probably happened between spring and early autumn. Although, as Carroll says at the end of his essay, “our evidence will not permit a definite chronology.” [Image: wink.png]
Nathan Ross
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"Why would Paulinus have wanted to break his quite small force into even smaller units and camp them separately all around the crest of a ridge in the Midlands,"
because that was the location and ground he chose, a bigger footprint is very unwieldy, particularly when your units are coming in at different times from different directions. One big camp demands an early commitment to what might prove be an untenable perimeter if your team doesn't arrive in time. Build for what you know you have.

Favorable battle terrain first, cool camp styling second, all armies are versatile like that.. unless they are commanded by an architect... then all is lost.

"defeat a massive tribal rebellion in Anglia and South East"
erm, well they were on campaign outside their territory and I think for a Tring/Dunstable advocate you are being a bit binary about regional definitions with that one. CS being closer to Iceni territory than Tring..... Tongue
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(01-13-2017, 01:17 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I did wonder a few pages back whether the revolt might have started in autumn 60 and continued into 61, but after further thought it seemed less likely. So it seems that 61 was the year of the revolt, and it probably happened between spring and early autumn. Although, as Carroll says at the end of his essay, “our evidence will not permit a definite chronology.” [Image: wink.png]

Just to let you know I'm at a loss to explain the dates given to many British governors so  I've created a new thread http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/thread-30183.html
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lies, all lies, I never said that it was Nathan, honest gov.... not me.....
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John Nathan - really heavy cold today and I seem to have mixed up your names.

John, on the camp, it's not a size nor location that is typical. However I'm more familiar with Scottish encampments where there are more distinct hills. Also, it's possible that the hill tops may have been wooded - so I'm not ruling out a slope as possibility.

However, I agree with Nathan that it is unlike the Romans split their forces into less than a legion - unless it was a reconnaissance unit which seem to be up to a couple of hectares.

From what you have given I think it is unlikely to be an encampment, but it would be worth trying to visit to try to see whether anything on site would help rule it out (a site visit can't confirm it as only aerial photography with crop marks or extensive digging could validate it).
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"I agree with Nathan"  well if we all did that it wouldn't be much of a thread, so I guess I'll have to hold out just for the sake of debate......

 "it's not a size nor location that is typical" great! wouldn't want ordinary....

"a site visit can't confirm it as only aerial photography with crop marks or extensive digging could validate it." done the site visit, it's a little less than anonymous, I would vote for a bit of a dig, it doesn't need to be extensive though, a couple of sections might crack it. But it won't be me and it won't be any time soon.
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(01-13-2017, 04:49 PM)John1 Wrote: "I agree with Nathan"  well if we all did that it wouldn't be much of a thread, so I guess I'll have to hold out just for the sake of debate......

 "it's not a size nor location that is typical" great! wouldn't want ordinary....

"a site visit can't confirm it as only aerial photography with crop marks or extensive digging could validate it." done the site visit, it's a little less than anonymous, I would vote for a bit of a dig, it doesn't need to be extensive though, a couple of sections might crack it. But it won't be me and it won't be any time soon.

John, I've been looking at Roman encampments for a while, and the one thing that I've found, is even when I know exactly where to look, they are seldom at all visible on google earth (but that does not stop me looking).

But there are a few criteria that do stand out. Most encampments (in Scotland) are on a hill top or in some way make use of slopes in a defensive way (as in using natural gullies and slopes). Most have large flat areas (Generals don't like sleeping on a hillside with soldiers rolling down the hill in their sleep into their tent). Most encampments are close by a good supply of water. Most also avoid areas of bog and water.

However ... remember this is Scotland ... so midges are a huge problem and the hill tops may be more to do with having a breeze to deal with midges than defence.

And the diagnostic features that are fairly unique are thin ditches (when viewed on Google maps), rounded corners and gates

From what I know of England very few encampments have been found. And if you've visited the site, I guess you are from England.

So what you really need to do is to come to Scotland and tour the encampments - not that there is anything at all to see in terms of Roman material, but when you get your eye in you start to recognise the types of sites. To be honest, whilst you can visit 5-10 sites in a day, there is absolutely nothing to see.

Other things Roman worth seeing in Scotland (from memory):
  • Burnswark Hill Fort (Not marked out, but two Roman Encampmentss and an iron-age enclosure) (just off M74)
  • Another Fort not far from the M74 (Forget the name right now).
  • Hunterian Museum (Glasgow), National Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh)
  • Ardoch Fort (well preserved earth banks) + several encampments (not easy to see)
  • Rough Castle (Falkirk - best place to see Antonine wall - or more exact ditch) + (Seabegs wood? + Watling Lodge + Stretches in Falkirk?)
  • Bar Hill (A complete fort part in stone, but only a few buildings marked out by low walls being visible. It's on the Antonine wall, but can be difficult to find as first time I missed the right bit) - also the site of a couple of encampments
Lesser sites:
  • Duntocher (very little to see at all (I think it was just a slight change in grass)- but in a public park .... then drive past Castle hill to Bearsden)
  • Bearsden Fort (In housing with only the bathhouse is visible) + Bearsden Cemetery (the foundations of Antonine wall are visible in two ditches)
  • Gask Ridge (The ridge is important historically, but only one watch tower is visible - but it is far from impressive being just a very faint round circle)
  • Inchtuthil Fort (On private land in a field of cows. Very little to see except a few ditches, but the size is impressive).
  • Cramond Roman Fort (Edinburgh - mostly marked out lines, but a few low walls.)
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John wrote:

.......what might prove be an untenable perimeter if your team doesn't arrive in time. Build for what you know you have.


I quite like this idea from John. 

Certainly there was the main force the Fourteenth  but then there were the men gathered from surrounding forts , a thousand men and a force of (possibly) a thousand veterans from the XXth so perhaps they built their own camps when they arrived. 

Is it also possible that there was a large cavalry force housed in a separate camp? 

Deryk

PS: Happy New Year  Smile
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Just another quick one about fort corner angles from a few pages back courtesy of Exeter Uni and the Daily Mail  (hangs head) 

these Hadrianic corners work for me, nice and tight, almost no rounding, a good fit for Windridge and Water Newton?
   

from the original article here;
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...-Wall.html

A more respectable piece here;
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednew...47_en.html

Is there any published material that deals with the variations in radii dimensions of Fort corners? (thread has now officially made me a complete and utter geek!!)

ps thanks Deryk, you can come to the pub.....

167057
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Extract from [email protected] 
Megalithic Portal News Summary 1/2/2017

Castle Ditch Eddisbury
Subject: England
Publication of the excavations and investigations of the 'Hillforts of the Cheshire Ridge' project 2009-2012, more details on our page below. Eddisbury is the largest and most complex of the seven hill forts in the county of Cheshire. It was constructed before 200–100 BC and expanded in 1–50 AD. In the 1st century AD, the Romans slighted the site.
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=5526

Presumably slighted after 51AD.
Could this be part of the 'calming' of the Brigantes post-61AD?
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(01-25-2017, 11:13 PM)John1 Wrote: Just another quick one about fort corner angles from a few pages back courtesy of Exeter Uni and the Daily Mail  (hangs head) 

these Hadrianic corners work for me, nice and tight, almost no rounding, a good fit for Windridge and Water Newton?


from the original article here;
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...-Wall.html

A more respectable piece here;
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednew...47_en.html

Is there any published material that deals with the variations in radii dimensions of Fort corners? (thread has now officially made me a complete and utter geek!!)

ps thanks Deryk, you can come to the pub.....

167057

There's a book:"Roman camps in Britain by Rebecca Jones".
There's another "The Roman Wall in Scotland " (very old)
But a great one is the work of William Roy who somewhere on the web you'll find drawings on the main forts along the Antonine Wall (2nd century).
And obviously many many on Hadrians wall

However, the thing to be careful about is the distinction between a "Fort" and an "Encampment". A fort was a fixed fortification that was intended to be occupied ... I guess the big difference would be overwinter. An encampment was a temporary beast (Also something like those at Masada were occupied for considerable periods in the siege).

The best examples we have of encampments are in Northern Britain. These are thought to mainly date from 80s AD (Agricola) 140s (Antonine) and 210s (Severus)

They exhibit different features (gates), which have been thought to relate to different dates. But I suspect they are the personal choice of the particular camp commander. But otherwise they are rounded corner, single ditch and attempting to be rectangle with near 2:3 ratio (although often failing due to the ground).

Forts on the other hand, seem to come in various types (at least the bits that are still visible - which are usually banks and ditches). However, I can't think of an example with only a single ditch (at least in part of the defences).

HOWEVER ... HOWEVER ... HOWEVER!!!!

Where are all the encampments in England?

Indeed, where are all the encampments in Gaul (A quick check doesn't reveal any obvious website on aerial photos of French encampments).
I've never seen evidence - but the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence - however unless someone knows better it seems quite possible to me that, the initial invasion of Britain did not use the type of fortification that we see in Scotland. I can think of two good reasons:

  1. The English and French campaigns were earlier - and it's only later campaigns that used ditches for temporary camps.
  2. England and France are much drier in the summer campaigning season, so it may be much harder to dig ditches - so they didn't because of the climate and they did in Scotland because summers are wetter and/or cooler so the ground is damper.
And if you don't dig ditches, you won't have the earth for banks. So, my guess is that Julia Caesar and the early British campaigns used some kind of wooden fencing - which was only loosely dug into the ground at most.

Which might mean that the only evidence it would be possible to find of a Roman encampment (if we knew where to dig), might be a couple of Dozen hobnails lost from their boots and a few bread ovens.
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On "English" forts I am waiting to see what comes out of this new one at Piddington. 

It's fairly local to Church Stowe and would appear to sit astride the ridge separating the Nene and Ouse catchments;
www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/piddington-uncovered-beyond-the-roman-villa.htm

I also noticed this MOLA site recently claiming a Boudican association, at 3.7 acres it's a lot smaller than the putative sites at Church Stowe  or Windridge, both about 9 acres;

http://www.mola.org.uk/blog/roman-fort-b...discovered

http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.co.uk/...dican.html

hoping to see a plan of it, particularly corners, soon.

PS Dave thanks for the Cheshire lead I hadn't seen it before.

171408
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