LOW BORROWBRIDGE RECTANGULAR ENCLOSURES
We now have the results of the second sample sent for C14 dating. The sample came from the big ditch on the north-east corner of the large rectangular enclosures in the fields south of the fort at Low Borrowbridge found through geophys and excavated last April. The sample came from the secondary fill. The dates are:
68% probability within the range 71-127 Cal AD
93% probability within the range 25-171 Cal AD
These dates do span the period immediately prior to the construction of the fort so could pre-date it. Most likely, however, is that they are contemporary with the initial timber construction (we think in the late 70s AD) or its probable rebuilding in stone at the time of Hadrian (120s AD). As the features lie under the current Howgill Lane this tends to suggest that the original road to the fort was further to the west.
We still don’t know what the features are, though there have been a number of suggestions:
1. Stock enclosures – possibly to keep cavalry horses related to the garrison at the fort, or for livestock such as cattle. The internal divisions could relate to different animals or different periods of use.
2. An early camp, possibly used during construction of the main fort to the north (though the shape does not look typical of marching or temporary camps)
3. Practice ditches for the garrison (as at the same period fort in Wales at Tomen y Mur) – and to keep them occupied.
4. A parade ground for the fort
5. Field boundaries to keep grazing animals out of crops grown for the garrison (though the ditches seem unnecessarily large and deep for this purpose).
If you have any other suggestions please let us know.
Finally, a big THANK YOU to Steve King who very generously funded this dating.
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