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The Roman site: summary

The excavations on Site A, in the north-west corner of the defended area, were undertaken with a view to exploring the deposits in an open area inside the defences in advance of housing development. The topsoil and subsoil were stripped by machine, and a large area then excavated by hand. No significant material later than the Roman period was found. While ploughing could well have destroyed later levels, it seems as likely that there was in fact no post-Roman occupation in this quarter and that it had always been open ground.

No Roman finds were from sealed contexts. A number of Roman items *, including pottery, building material and small finds, were scattered over the site, however, and range in date over the whole of the period of Roman occupation. These should be analysed as part of a wider study of Roman material in the area, of which there is a considerable amount.

The Roman levels consisted of up to ten closely spaced house areas, defined by more-or-less discrete spreads of stones and gravel laid on the clay subsoil, which are likely to have been either house platforms or yards in front of houses built of clay and/or wood. Pottery and bronze finds, as well as many coins, spanned the whole period of Roman occupation. There was no sign of any streets or tracks, and the yard/house platforms, where discernible, were not built with any recognisable orientation. There are relatively abundant Roman remains in the immediate area, on both sides of the Thames, and the finds at Cricklade do not mark out the settlement there as being particularly significant. However, while the archaeological evidence is not informative, it is possible that this settlement was planted as a staging post at the crossing-place of the Thames by Ermin Street (Wainwright 1960), at a point that was almost exactly half way between Cirencester and Wanborough (Figure 1b and Figure 2).

The existence of this Roman site gives rise to the possibility that the causeway under the road leading from the North gate of the Saxon fortress might be of Roman origin. The Roman settlement at Cricklade would have been connected to Ermin Street at some point, which may have been along this line. Until physical evidence for this is forthcoming, however, this must remain conjectural.

Site A - general view of site
Figure 11: Irregular house-platforms of stones laid on the clay subsoil (Site A)
Site A - house platform or yard area
Figure 12: Irregular house-platform or yard area of stones, cut by a modern field drain (Site A)

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Last updated: Mon Jul 7 2003