NGRef: NY030853
OSMap: LR78
Type: Fortlet

Roads
possible road: W (6) to Dalswinton (Dumfries & Galloway)
possible road: SE (7) to Ladyward (Dumfries & Galloway)

The Fortlet at Murder Loch

N.G.REF DIMENSIONS AREA
NY030853 c.200 x 200 ft
(c.60 x 60 m)
c.¾-acre
(c.0.3 ha)

The wide ditch of this fortlet measures roughly 200 feet square (c.60 m²) across the ditch centres, enclosing an area of around ¾-acre (c.0.3 ha), with a single entrance gap on the south-east. This is about 50% larger than the Flavian series of fortlets based around Drumlanrig along Nithsdale to the north-west, and is thought to be an Antonine foundation, guarding the western supply-route for the Antonine Wall.

The fortlet lies wholly within a slightly trapezoidal enclosure delineated by an apparently unbroken narrow ditch, measuring roughly 300 feet from north-east to south-west by about 260 feet NW-SE (c.90 x 80 m) and enclosing an area of around 1¾ acres (c.0.7 ha). The two are probably not contemporary, judging by the lack of a corresponding break in the enclosure ditch opposite the gateway of the fortlet, also the fact that the fortlets placement within the enclosure is asymmetrical and aside from those on the south-east, which are parallel, the sides of the fortlet and enclosure are unaligned. The small size of the enclosure, its irregular outline and the lack of any convincing entrance gap make it an unconvincing candidate for a Roman temporary marching camp. It is possible - though unproveable without excavation - that Murder Loch presents an Antonine fortlet sited within a native enclosure.

See: Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) pp.24/5, fig.7 & plate.VIIa.