Site of Roman Defences at Tripontium
A defensive bank and ditch, forming an enclosure, were found during an archaeological excavation. The enclosure was Roman in date and formed the defences surrounding the Roman town of Tripontium. The enclosure was located 1km south west of Shawell.
1 Excavation from 1963 onwards in advance of gravel extraction revealed part of a defensive ditch. To the E of the road this was up to 6.7m wide and 3m deep. It was filled at the end of the 4th century. The ditch was also found W of the road. There is no indication that it was open for a great length of time.
2 Further excavation from 1966-8 uncovered more of the defensive ditch on the W side. The enclosure was rectangular, enclosing an area of about 1.25 ha, and the lightly-cobbled road (Watling Street) approximately bisected it on its longer axis. No wall was found, but traces of the base of a clay bank were traced on the inside. The ditch appears to have been carefully filled and early 4th century pottery occurs at all levels in the fill. The upper layers of fill contained a coin of Valentinian. Very little contemporary occupation was found. A pit, a ditch and a circular building to the W of the road are 4th century, but the bulk of features are 2nd century to 3rd century. Occupation of this date does occur elsewhere on the site.