Branodunum Roman Fort

Branodunum Roman Fort



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Branodunum Fort is a 3rd century Roman fort located on the Norfolk coast, that once protected its settlements from Saxon invaders.

Branodunum Roman Fort history

Built in around 225 to 250 AD, Branodunum Fort is one of 11 Roman forts known as the ‘Saxon Shore’ defences, found on England’s southern and eastern coasts.

Like its counterparts, Branodunum was initially built to help control trade around the coastline, but later took on a more defensive role, protecting the land from invaders from the North Sea. Its name derives from the local Celtic language, and is thought to mean ‘fort of the raven’.

A tile found at the site suggests its initial garrison were the First Cohort of Aquitania from modern-day south-west France, while a later 4th century document states that Branodunum was garrisoned by a Dalmatian cavalry from modern-day Croatia.

Branodunum Fort would remain garrisoned for some 150 years, before finally being abandoned when the Romans left Britain. Its walls remained standing in the 17th century, however the robbery of its materials in the centuries to follow left only the earthworks behind.

Branodunum Roman Fort today

Today Branodunum Roman Fort is managed by the National Trust, and lies amongst the Brancaster Estate. Information boards at the site provide a reconstructed image of what it once looked like, alongside its interesting history. No stone ruins remain, however crop marks of the fort’s inner buildings may still be seen.

For those interested in Roman Britain, Branodunum provides a peaceful walk through some of Norfolk’s picturesque countryside, and offers a glimpse into some of its oldest history. The nearby Brancaster Beach also is of historical interest, as due to its similarities with the beaches of Normandy, it was used for training as a practice beach in the run-up to the D-Day landings.

Getting to Branodunum Roman Fort

Branodunum Roman Fort is located in Brancaster, Norfolk on the A149, with parking available on Beach Road in the village. The nearest train station is King’s Lynn, from which the 36 bus service may be taken to the Saxon Field stop in Brancaster, a 5-minute walk to the site.


To Branodunum, a Roman Fort

Some time around ad 240-250 the Romans came to Brancaster and built a fort. It was square with a tower at each corner. Between the towers was a curtain wall about 10ft (3m) thick, and there was a gate halfway along each of the four walls. In addition to this, they added a wide ditch, so that any attackers would have to climb down it and up the other side - all the while bombarded with arrows and stones from the defenders above. They reinforced the walls by adding a rampart inside. The Roman Fort of Branodunum. The fort was quite large - about 6.5 acres (2.6ha), and was probably built over a site that had been levelled by previous occupants. Although it lies in a field that is about a mile (1.6km) from the sea today, when the Romans built it, it was right on the estuary. It was a fabulous location, because not only did it provide good access to the sea, but it was near the Peddars Way, an important line of communication in Roman times. By the 4th century ad, the civilian population that relied on the fort’s protection had moved away from Branodunum. The military settlement survived for a while, as the most northerly of the Saxon Shore fort systems designed to protect the Dalmatian cavalry against Anglo-Saxon raids, but eventually it was abandoned. You will not see much of the fort, except for some earthworks covered in vegetation, but walking around the field will give you an idea of its size. The fort is now in the care of the National Trust, which owns around 2,000 acres (810ha) of the coast, of which Branodunum is a part, comprising 4 miles (6.4km) of tidal foreshore. The entire region, with its salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes, is a haven for wildlife and you might expect to see redshank, greenshank, sharp-eyed gannets with their dazzling white plumage, and the delicate common and Sandwich terns. Watching and waiting patiently for a chance to grab a sick, weak or careless bird is the Arctic skua, a fierce scavenger-predator, which is a summer visitor. When you are out in the marshes take the opportunity to stop, close your eyes and listen - to the hiss of wind in long grass, the muted roar of distant waves and the piping whistles of birds. The countryside is never completely silent and it is always a restful experience to hear the many sounds of nature. While you're there: Norfolk Lavender in nearby Heacham is one of England’s finest lavender farms. It is open all year and there is a shop and a tea room. In the opposite direction is Holkham Hall and its Bygones Museum, while closer to Brancaster is Wells-next-the-Sea with its charming narrow streets and Georgian houses. Next to it is Warham St Mary, which has handsome Renaissance glass in its church. What to look out for: Scolt Head Island nature reserve and bird sanctuary lies about 1 mile (1.6km) north. Where to eat and drink: The Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe serves bar meals and has a restaurant, a sea view, and is open daily. There is a mobile sandwich van in Harbour Way, near the car park, which sells baguettes filled with local seafood. At Brancaster, the Ship opposite the church has a pleasant beer garden. Families are welcome, and there are bar meals and a restaurant. The post office sells ice creams and cold drinks. Directions: From outside Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club, take the Norfolk Coast Path west. Continue on the broadwalk to reach an information sign about the Branodunum Roman fort on your left. The salt marshes stretch out to your right, and in the distance, the clubhouse of the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, which you’ll pass later on. Cross a stile with a steel fence and concrete step. The path broadens out into a track - at the junction follow the signpost left for the Norfolk Coast Path. Pass the Church of St Mary the Virgin, and immediately after cross the A149 coast road. After a few steps, take Choseley Road, which forks to the right opposite the post office. It starts out as a narrow lane flanked by flint cottages and then by tall hedges. It bends at right angles, to the right, then left, to gain some height and enjoy panoramic views of the coast. Where the climb levels off, the track turns 90-degrees right, with a Norfolk Coast waymarker to keep you on track. Ahead you can see some farm buildings and a mobile phone mast, but before you reach them, turn right leaving the Norfolk Coast Path. You are now on a small, paved path, Chalkpit Road. At the crossroads with the A149, turn right. Walk along the lefthand pavement, and just after a speed de-restriction sign, turn left on to Gypsy Lane, a small welldefined footpath through woods. Walk through this tunnel of foliage, until it opens out to a coastal embankment, with Titchwell Nature Reserve (RSPB) to your left. Follow the embankment round to Brancaster Ford. Where you go from here depends on the tide. The main route goes ahead, off the embankment and following the path to the dunes and the golf clubhouse beyond. If there is water running over the ford, turn right and stay on the embankment. The main route skirts along the beach to reach a sandy track to the right of the golf club. Now follow the path south along the top of the embankment. At the end of the path, drop down to bushes and scrub before turning left on to a track. At the junction with a road which comes from the golf club, jink left and immediately right From here follow the Norfolk Coast Path back to Brancaster Staithe.


Branodunum Roman Fort - History

Branodunum is one of the eleven forts along the South and East coasts of England known as Saxon Shore Forts. The Romans built these forts during the 3rd century. At first they were used to protect and control shipping and trade around the coast.

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Branodunum Roman Fort Site - Branodunum is one of the eleven forts along the South and East coasts of England known as Saxon Shore Forts. The Romans built these forts during the 3rd century. At first they were used to protect and control shipping and trade around the coast.


The fort probably takes its name either directly from the Afon Seiont or from a pre-existing British settlement itself named for the river. The name is a Latinised form of the Brythonic language *seg-ontio, which may be translated as "strong place". [1]

There is no evidence that the fort is connected to the Segontiaci, a British tribe noted by Julius Caesar.

Roman Edit

Segontium was founded by Agricola in AD 77 or 78 after he had conquered the Ordovices in North Wales. It was the main Roman fort in the north of Roman Wales and was designed to hold about a thousand auxiliary infantry. It was connected by a Roman road to the Roman legionary base at Chester, Deva Victrix. Unlike the medieval Caernarfon Castle that was built alongside the Seiont estuary more than a thousand years later, Segontium was situated on higher ground to the east giving a good view of the Menai Straits.

The original timber defences were rebuilt in stone in the first half of the 2nd century. In the same period, a large courtyard house (with its own small bathhouse) was built within the fort. The high-status building may have been the residence of an important official who was possibly in charge of regional mineral extraction. Archaeological research shows that, by the year 120, there had been a reduction in the military numbers at the fort. [2] An inscription on an aqueduct from the time of the Emperor Septimius Severus indicates that, by the 3rd century, Segontium was garrisoned by 500 men from the Cohors I Sunicorum, which would have originally been levied among the Sunici of Gallia Belgica. The size of the fort continued to reduce through the 3rd and 4th centuries. At this time Segontium's main role was the defence of the north Wales coast against Irish raiders and pirates. Coins found at Segontium show the fort was still occupied until at least 394.

Medieval Edit

Segontium is generally considered to have been listed among the 28 cities of Britain listed in the History of the Britons traditionally ascribed to Nennius, [3] either as Cair Segeint [4] or Cair Custoeint . [5] Bishop Ussher cites another passage in Nennius: [6] "Here, says Nennius, Constantius the Emperor (the father probably of Constantine the Great) died that is, near the town of Cair Segeint, or Custoient, in Carnarvonshire". Nennius stated that the emperor's inscribed tomb was still present in his day. [5] Constantius Chlorus actually died at York the Welsh monument might be for Constantine [4] who was the son of Saint Elen, the supposed patron of the Sarn Helen.

In the 11th century, the Normans built a motte nearby, whose settlement formed the nucleus of present-day Caernarfon. Following the 13th-century Edwardian conquest, the earlier work was replaced by Caernarfon Castle.

Present day Edit

Although the A4085 to Beddgelert cuts through the site, most of the fort's foundations are preserved. Guidebooks can be bought from other Cadw sites, including Caernarfon Castle. The remains of a civilian settlement together with a Roman temple of Mithras, the Caernarfon Mithraeum, and a cemetery have been also identified around the fort.

Segontium is referenced in the prose of the Mabinogion, a collection of early medieval Welsh prose first collated in the 1350s. In Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig ("The dream of Macsen Wledig")—one of its Four Independent Tales—Macsen (identified with the Emperor Magnus Maximus) dreams of a beautiful woman (Saint Elen) who turns out to be at "the fort at the mouth of the Seiont".

Wallace Breem's novel Eagle in the Snow begins and ends in post-Roman Segontium and references its temple of Mithras.

The fort also features in The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills of Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy.


Digging up History at Vindolanda

F or or decades, archaeologists have gathered in northern England at one of the world’s most famous working archaeological excavations. The grass has been slowly pulled away to reveal a stunning Roman fort and its surroundings the artifacts extracted from the ground have not been touched by human hands since the end of Roman Britain. This is Vindolanda: the front line of Roman Britannia turned into the front line of historical research.
Vindolanda sits just 30 miles south of the English-Scottish border in a rural setting. Pass through the visitor entrance and you are confronted with a maze of low stone walls, the tantalizing ruins of a massive military complex that once stood here. Here was where the men of the mighty Roman war machine lived and died, leaving behind objects used in the course of their work, leisure and everyday life.
The first fort was originally constructed in turf and timber around AD 85, a time when Celtic Britain was still in the process of becoming Roman Britannia. Vindolanda was a conquest fort, a base from which the legendary Roman army could range further afield as the sphere of Roman influence crept ever further north. Things changed a little in AD 122. The troublesome tribes in the north were proving too difficult to conquer, so Emperor Hadrian decided to demarcate the frontier of the Roman Empire in stone. Hadrian’s Wall ran only a couple of miles to the north of Vindolanda and the fort was temporarily abandoned, the garrison transferred to the wall itself.
Soon enough it was decided that Vindolanda was too good a location to leave to rot and a new stone fort was built on the same site. Vindolanda then remained in use until the end of the Roman occupation of Britain in AD 410. Successive auxiliary units were posted to Vindolanda and rebuilt the fort in their own way the remains of at least nine forts have been found.
So, how do we know all this? It is a complicated puzzle, but Vindolanda is one of the best-understood Roman sites in Britain due to the tireless work of one family over the best part of a century.
The fields that now house Vindolanda had long been known for the Roman ruins they held when, in 1929, a nearby house was purchased by archaeologist Eric Birley.

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He oversaw a number of excavations and began to make sense of Vindolanda, scraping away the layers of history and solving the intricate riddle of the overlying forts, leaving some of the remains in situ to help visitors understand the site. Paths wind alongside the preserved structures and visitors are encouraged to walk through what remains of the Roman buildings, picturing them as they were 2,000 years ago.
Birley’s archaeological genes and responsibility for the Vindolanda excavations were passed on to his sons, Robin and Anthony, and his grandson, Andrew, who is now Director of Excavations for the Vindolanda Trust. Each summer Andrew heads a group of archaeologists who gather for a new season of excavations. The trenches are laid out alongside the existing stone ruins so Vindolanda’s summer visitors have the bonus of being able to watch the excavations take place. The archaeologists are an approachable bunch, happy to answer any questions.

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Visiting Vindolanda

“Our main job is to make the information gathered from the excavations available to the public,” Andrew explains in a break between shoveling soil. This is done through the on-site museum, located in the house his grandfather purchased in 1929. Some of the best discoveries have been cleaned, preserved and displayed to the public here. As we slowly stroll around the site, Andrew tells me about some of the sensational finds.
Stone, pottery and metal are usually the only clues left behind, but the waterlogged, anaerobic ground at Vindolanda preserves many objects that would rot quickly if they were buried elsewhere. A fine collection of leather footwear is housed in the nearby museum, but the most impressive finds are undoubtedly the wooden writing tablets.
The Vindolanda tablets would not have survived in normal soil conditions. They are thin, postcard-sized wooden leaf-tablets bearing inscriptions in ink. First found in 1973 by Andrew’s father Robin, the tablets catapulted Vindolanda into a small category of elite Roman archaeological sites.
Some tablets record the military strength of the garrison, but there are also personal messages to and from soldiers, their families and their slaves. The highlights include an invitation to a birthday party, probably the earliest known Latin document written by a woman, or a report about the characteristics of the native Britons that refers to them derisively as “Brittunculi” (wretched little Britons).
“The tablets are a window into the soul of the writer,” Andrew explains. “It’s like reading a Roman soap opera.”
And the show goes on. Tablets continue to be found: One was carefully extracted from the ground only two weeks before my visit. More than 400 tablets have been discovered, but Andrew is still as keen to see this one cleaned and read as his father must have been when the first was found.
“It might provide us with some valuable new information,” Andrew said. “We could find out about a new addressee, a person we’ve not come across before.”
This isn’t Roman treasure hunting, this is the cutting edge of historical research. The Vindolanda excavations have specific objectives.
“We have real research questions,” said Andrew. “This year we are looking for the main source of water, and we’re also interested in the relationship between the fort and the community around it.”
Outside the fort was a civilian settlement called a vicus . The remnants of several rows of buildings and a large bathhouse can still be seen. It had been thought that there was a strict distinction between the soldiers inside forts and the civilians who lived outside them, but the Vindolanda excavations are questioning that.
“There is evidence that some civilians were living in the fort and some soldiers were living outside,” Andrew explains. “The number of military belt buckles we’ve found in the civilian settlement shows that soldiers must have been living there—either that, or they kept taking their trousers off outside the fort for some reason!”

Digging History

Volunteer excavators are asked to sign up online ( www.vindolanda.com ) at the start of November for the following summer season. Note that places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are snapped up extremely quickly, so be poised at your computer on the necessary date! Excavations run from April to August and volunteers can join for a minimum of one week, a maximum of five. It costs £40 a week, volunteers can also pay extra to stay in the on-site Hedley Centre accommodation.

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Other archaeological excavations also accept volunteers, and opportunities are available in all corners of the British Isles. The best directory of all the fieldwork opportunities is held by the Council for British Archaeology ( www.britarch.ac.uk/briefing ). The CBA also offers a wealth of information for those who are interested in getting involved in Britain’s ample archaeological past.

W atching the excavations take place in front of you is exciting enough, but there are opportunities to pull on your wellies, sharpen your trowel and get in the trench to dig history with your own hands. Every year, hundreds of volunteers are welcomed to Vindolanda to help out with the archaeological excavations.
“There is a real community here,” Andrew is proud to say. “We have 650 volunteers each year, selected on a first-come, first-served basis.”
You would expect that such an important site would be reserved for those with doctorates, but that could not be further from the truth. “No experience is necessary,” Andrew continues. “We teach you everything you need to know.”
Volunteer excavators come from around the world, including from across the Atlantic. A husband and wife excavating team, Georgine Brabec and Tim Adams from Chicago, are regular attendees.
“It’s exciting to walk where the Romans did,” Georgine enthuses, “and it’s not intimidating at all. I had no experience when I first came here.”
“This site is a brilliant one for newcomers to dig,” Tim adds. “There’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find something interesting.”
That’s certainly true for this pair. Two years ago, Georgine found a quern for grinding grain inscribed with “Africanus,” probably the name of a Roman soldier. Africanus has now been adopted by the nearby Roman Army Museum, a sister museum to Vindolanda, and is part of an audio-visual display that educates visitors about life in the Roman army.
“I enjoy coming back the following year and seeing how they build upon the knowledge,” Georgine confides.
“And I’m amazed at the amount of work and effort it takes to take something from deep underground to the museum shelf,” Tim adds.
Both the Vindolanda and Roman Army Museum make the most of the wealth of information that archaeologists provide them. Both have been recently renovated and have well-presented, interesting galleries. The Vindolanda Museum holds many objects that were lifted from the ground just meters away, while the Roman Army Museum looks at the wider picture of life in the army with some terrifically informative audio-visual displays.

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Whether you come to Vindolanda to get your hands dirty in a trench or stay clean and watch the archaeologists at work, this is a site that gets you up close and personal with the Romans who lived here nearly 2,000 years ago visitors can walk where they walked, touch what they touched. As Andrew Birley puts it, “When you come here, there is a feeling of continuity linking you directly to the Roman Empire and the Roman world.”.


Roman sites in Dorset

Aside from the sites listed here there is one other special site to mention the hill fort of Maiden Castle, near Dorchester, was besieged by the Romans, who later built fortifications within the earthen walls of the fort.

The only visible Roman townhouse in Britain. The house was built in the 4th century AD and features two ranges, each with excellent mosaic floors, now preserved under covered buildings with viewing windows. Remains include two hypocausts, foundation walls, and stone columns.
County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset, England, DT1 1XJ

Heritage Rating: ?

Heritage Highlight: 4th century mosaic floors
Nearest: Hotels - Self Catering - Bed and Breakfasts

Jordan Hill is a 4th-century Romano-Celtic temple. Little of the temple remains beyond the foundation walls. Within the walls is a shaft over 10 feet deep, thought to have been built c 69-79 AD. The site appears to have fallen out of use c 379-395 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius.

Bowleaze Cove Way, Weymouth, Dorset, England, DT3 6PL


Contents

The name Portus Adurni appears only in the list of Saxon Shore forts in the 5th century Notitia Dignitatum, and the name is usually identified with Portchester, ΐ] although it has occasionally been identified with the Roman fort at Walton Castle, Suffolk (which has now disappeared into the sea). Α] Portus Adurni may be identical with the Ardaoneon listed in the Ravenna Cosmography, ΐ] and Rivet and Smith derive both names from the British "ardu-" meaning "height". Α] This derivation fits Portchester (which lies beneath Portsdown Hill) better than a flat location such as Walton Castle. Α]


The Roman Ninth Legion's mysterious loss

The disappearance of Rome's Ninth Legion has long baffled historians, but could a brutal ambush have been the event that forged the England-Scotland border, asks archaeologist Dr Miles Russell, of Bournemouth University.

One of the most enduring legends of Roman Britain concerns the disappearance of the Ninth Legion.

The theory that 5,000 of Rome's finest soldiers were lost in the swirling mists of Caledonia, as they marched north to put down a rebellion, forms the basis of a new film, The Eagle, but how much of it is true?

It is easy to understand the appeal of stories surrounding the loss of the Roman Ninth Legion - a disadvantaged band of British warriors inflicting a humiliating defeat upon a well-trained, heavily-armoured professional army.

It's the ultimate triumph of the underdog - an unlikely tale of victory against the odds. Recently, however, the story has seeped further into the national consciousness of both England and Scotland.

For the English, the massacre of the Ninth is an inspiring tale of home-grown "Davids" successfully taking on a relentless European "Goliath". For the Scots, given the debate on devolved government and national identity, not to say the cultural impact of Braveheart, the tale has gained extra currency - freedom-loving highlanders resisting monolithic, London-based imperialists.

The legend of the Ninth gained form thanks to acclaimed novelist Rosemary Sutcliff, whose masterpiece, The Eagle of the Ninth, became an instant bestseller when published in 1954.

Since then, generations of children and adults have been entranced by the story of a young Roman officer, Marcus Aquila, travelling north of Hadrian's Wall in order to uncover the truth about his father, lost with the Ninth, and the whereabouts of the Legion's battle standard, the bronze eagle.

The historians have dissented, theorising that the Ninth did not disappear in Britain at all, arguing both book and film are wrong. Their theory has been far more mundane - the legion was, in fact, a victim of strategic transfer, swapping the cold expanse of northern England, for arid wastes in the Middle East. Here, sometime before AD 160, they were wiped out in a war against the Persians.

But, contrary to this view, there is not one shred of evidence that the Ninth were ever taken out of Britain. It's just a guess which, over time, has taken on a sheen of cast iron certainty. Three stamped tiles bearing the unit number of the Ninth found at Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, have been used to support the idea of transfer from Britain.

But these all seem to date to the 80s AD, when detachments of the Ninth were indeed on the Rhine fighting Germanic tribes. They do not prove that the Ninth left Britain for good.

In fact, the last certain piece of evidence relating to the existence of the Legion from anywhere in the Roman Empire comes from York where an inscription, dating to AD 108, credits the Ninth with rebuilding the fortress in stone. Some time between then and the mid-2nd Century, when a record of all Legions was compiled, the unit had ceased to exist.

But what happened to the Ninth?

The early years of the 2nd Century were deeply traumatic for Britannia. The Roman writer Fronto observed that, in the reign of the emperor Hadrian (AD 117 - 138), large numbers of Roman soldiers were killed by the British.

The number and full extent of these losses remain unknown, but they were evidently significant. The anonymously authored Augustan History, compiled in the 3rd Century, provides further detail, noting that when Hadrian became emperor, "the Britons could not be kept under Roman control".

The British problem was of deep concern to Roman central government. Thanks to a tombstone recovered from Ferentinum in Italy, we know that emergency reinforcements of over 3,000 men were rushed to the island on "the British Expedition", early in Hadrian's reign. The emperor himself visited the island in AD 122, in order to "correct many faults", bringing with him a new legion, the Sixth.

The fact that they took up residence in the legionary fortress of York suggests that the "great losses" of personnel, alluded to by Fronto, had occurred within the ranks of the Ninth.

It would seem that Sutcliff was right after all.

It was the Ninth, the most exposed and northerly of all legions in Britain, that had borne the brunt of the uprising, ending their days fighting insurgents in the turmoil of early 2nd Century Britain.

The loss of such an elite military unit had an unexpected twist which reverberates to the present day. When the emperor Hadrian visited Britain at the head of a major troop surge, he realised that there was only one way to ensure stability in the island - he needed to build a wall.

Hadrian's Wall was designed to keep invaders out of Roman territory as well as ensuring that potential insurgents within the province had no hope of receiving support from their allies to the north. From this point, cultures on either side of the great divide developed at different rates and in very different ways.

The ultimate legacy of the Ninth was the creation of a permanent border, forever dividing Britain. The origins of what were to become the independent kingdoms of England and Scotland may be traced to the loss of this unluckiest of Roman legions.

Dr Miles Russell is a senior lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology at Bournemouth University.


Sources

  • Blank, E, 1970, A Guide to Leicestershire Archaeology. Leicester Museums
  • Connor, A and Buckley, R 1999. Roman and Medieval Occupation in Causeway Lane, Leicester. Leicester Archaeology Monographs no 5 1999: University of Leicester Archaeological Services
  • Morris, M, Buckley, R, and Codd, M, 2011, Visions of Ancient Leicester: reconstructing Life in The Roman and Medieval Town from the Archaeology of the Highcross excavations. University of Leicester Archaeological Services.
  • Todd, M, 1991. The Coritani. Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd.

The Romans are just the beginning of Leicester’s story. Discover more about the long and fascinating history of one of Britain’s oldest cities in Leicester in 100 Dates.


Roman Carlisle

Mike McCarthy has spent more than twenty years unearthing Carlisle’s Roman past. He has overseen numerous archaeological excavations in the city, which was once the main administrative centre for the western sector of Hadrian’s Wall.

Unsurprisingly, the city - Luguvalium to the Romans - is rich in archaeology. Yet, of all the excavations so far tackled by Mike it is the current one, beneath the city’s Castle Green, that has stirred the most interest. Buried beneath a section of dual carriageway, and the neat lawns that lie to the front of Carlisle Castle, is the heart of what was once a sizeable Roman fort, built by the invaders shortly after they arrived in AD72-73.

Its excavation is a feature of the Carlisle Gateway City millennium project, which aims to create an underground exhibition ‘Gallery’, linked to Tullie House, the local art gallery and museum.

The excavation itself - in an area measuring some 50 by 20 metres - is within the ‘footprint’ of a project to build an access ramp and staircase to the Gallery, beneath the Castle Way dual carriageway.

It has yielded fascinating evidence of a rather ‘scruffy’ Roman lifestyle.

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