Martinhoe Beacon, Roman Fort

Record ID:  100479 / MNA107809
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: Scheduled Monument
NT Property:  West Exmoor Coast; South West
Civil Parish:  Martinhoe; North Devon; Devon
Grid Reference:  SS 6631 4933
Choose map:
Map Aerial
Choose labels:
No label ID SMR No.

Summary

Martinhoe Beacon. Roman fortlet excavated 1960-1961 by Fox and Ravenhill. A small square centre enclosure, fortified with a rampart and double ditches, with a third rampart and ditch about 21.34m away on the landward side, forming a roughly circular outer enclosure (fox, 1961).

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • FORT (Roman - 43 AD? to 409 AD?)

Description

The inner rampart was of turf, the outer of dump construction made from material from the ditch. The entrance to the inner enclosure was on the seaward side; a metalled causeway led to a double portalled gateway. The outer entrance was on the opposite (south) side, possible remains of signal fires within this enclosure. The inner enclosure contained three timber buildings; a pair of L shaped barracks on the west and east, and a small rectangular building on the south side. Each barrack contained eight cubicles, and one had three extra rooms added sometime later. The smaller building of two rooms had a small domed furnace or forge nearby, and might therefore have been used by a smith or armourer.
Immediately within the intervallum were a number of clay and timber field ovens.
Pottery from the excavations dated occupation to circa 55-75AD, and included samian forms 15117 and 18, one stamped licinus (AD46-65), stamped mortarium and native ware. Also found were two bronze coins of nerd. The fortlet is considered to have been occupied on a semi-permanent basis for about 10-20 years within the period 55-75AD, and to have been associated with the roman conquest of the silures (a south welsh tribe). There would have been sufficient room for a century of soldiers (Fox, 1966).
At Martinhoe, traces of the foundations of timber buildings were identified in excavation, leading the excavators to suggest that this site was in use for a much longer period, possibly replacing the site at old burrow (Griffith).

References

  • SZB52452 - Pamphlet: The National Trust/Devon Archaeological Society. 1991. Martinhoe Beacon - The Roman Fortlet.

  • SZR49036 - National Trust Report: Caroline Thackray. 1984. NT Archaeological Survey, Holdstone Down, Devon.

Designations

Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

Associated Events

  • ENA490 - Field Survey, NT Archaeological Survey, Heddon Estate, Devon

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded