Roman forts at Mancetter

Description of this historic site

The site of several successive Roman forts at Mancetter. The forts were all built on the same site but on different alignments and were situated 500m east of Rose Hill Farm.

Notes about this historic site

1 A two phase vexillation fortress was established in the pre-Flavian period on the site of the modern village of Mancetter. Traces of earlier and later forts or camps have also been found in the same general area, but on different alignments. The structures and finds recovered suggest an extended period of military occupation, with a large and prosperous garrison for part of the time. It is likely that the earliest inhabitants of the civil settlement were attracted by the presence of the garrison.
2 Mancetter is referred to directly in the 4th century Antonine Itinerary, as Manduessedum, and indirectly in Tacitus, both of these sources implying a military role. It is now clear that Mancetter was of front-line strategic importance both during the early years of Roman occupation and consolidation, and during Boudicca’s rebellion (AD 60). A number of excavations have taken place, including research excavations by the Atherstone Archaeological and Historical Society. These have located the 1st century fort(s) west of the River Anker and are gradually clarifying its plan(s) and phasing. It has been shown that there were at least three reductions in size of the fort, all within the 1st century, but that at its largest, the fort could have housed half a legion (c3000 men). Military occupation is not thought to have continued beyond the last quarter of the 1st century AD. This report contains a detailed summary of excavations 1955-1997.
3 The phasing and plan(s) of the forts(s) are still in the process of being established and are not yet separately numbered or mapped. The overall limit of the fort(s) is also still being established and is not yet shown on the SMR maps.
4 Early Roman (45-70AD) features were recorded during excavation and observation at Mancetter Manor, The Green, Mancetter, in a central position within the fort. The foundations for at least 1 timber building, possibly a barrack block, were recorded, together with evidence for internal divisions and features, such as pits and post holes. A porbable latrine pit may be associated with this phase of activity. A later phase comprising a series of two or three ditches aligned north-south was also recorded. These may all be military ditches forming part of a phase of redesign of the fortress. Some finds from the excavation date to the Claudian period, and may reflect the establishment of the fort at Mancetter as part of the advance into the north and westwards, AD45-55. The fort was possibly created as part of military action under Wuintus Veranius and Suetonius Paullinus, and were possibly regarrisoned or resestablished in a period following the Boundican rebellion in AD60.

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