Priority 1: Our understanding of the Roman forts in Perth and Kinross is limited to the areas enclosed by the defensive fortifications and, in the case of the temporary camps and smaller sites, of the ditch and rampart defences themselves. Excavations from across the Roman Empire have demonstrated that extramural structures can be expected even at small tower sites. Whether re-examining known sites or investigating new discoveries, future research should follow national recommendations and extend their study across a 1km buffer zone from the outermost defences of the sites in question (ScARF Roman section, 44).
Priority 2: As evidenced from excavations beyond the region, such as at Kintore, Aberdeenshire (Cook and Dunbar 2008) and Ayr Academy, Ayr (Arabaolaza 2019), Roman camps offer great potential for helping with dating and characterising the activities of Roman troops on the march. Similar archaeological excavation in this region supported with a robust post-excavation research design should be undertaken as a matter of priority to assist with the characterisation and dating of the region’s camps.
Priority 3: To a large extent new site discoveries have been driven by aerial surveys conducted along the route of the region’s main Roman road. The tower at Woodhead demonstrates the potential for further survivals beyond this line, especially in the area between Bertha and Inchtuthil but there is also potential in Strathallan, south of Ardoch. Concerted efforts to identify sites in these areas could contribute significantly to our understanding of the Roman presence in the region. In particular, such work would assist with the outstanding question of why Inchtuthil appears to be disconnected from other sites to the east of the River Tay such as Cargill and whether it linked to the lowland forts like Bertha west of the river.
Priority 4: Although excavation has established that a reoccupation of Flavian forts such as Ardoch and Strageath took place in the Antonine Period, possibly as outposts for the Antonine Wall (mirroring the situation on Hadrian’s Wall), there is some doubt as to whether the evidence represents multiple Antonine phases or refurbishments (Hodgson 2009). Further assessment of Antonine dated sites would assist with clarifying the nature of the Antonine presence in the region.
Priority 5: Many of the region’s Roman sites appear to be located close to mineral deposits, good sources of building stone – eg the sandstone quarry on Gourdie hill north of Inchtuthil – or precious metal deposits – eg silver and copper near the Highland line forts. There is also evidence for the use of local materials and local production of artefacts such as the coarse ware pottery found at Inchtuthil (Darling 1985, 323) and quernstones recovered from various Roman forts. Identification of Roman raw material extraction sites and a closer examination of the relationships between such sites and where military installations were located would offer valuable insight into the mechanics of the Roman presence in the region.
Priority 6: Beyond the Ardoch tombstone, there is little knowledge of the identities and ethnicities of the Roman army and any followers – women, children, traders – within the region. A detailed reanalysis of existing artefact and ecofact collections could help to address such questions and to offer further insight into social aspects such as the origins of individuals, lifestyle, health, diet and beliefs.
Priority 7: One aspect for understanding interactions between Rome and the region’s Iron Age populations is the closer examination of how Roman sites integrated into the wider populated landscapes. Sites such as Cargill, where roundhouses and souterrains overlie or are closely associated with the Roman fort, should feature prominently in such studies. Comparisons with nearby sites outwith the region, which have similar features and are located in the same strath such as Carden fort, only 9 miles away in Angus, should also be included.