Revealed: London's Early Roman Fort No One Knew Existed

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By M@ Last edited 23 months ago
Revealed: London's Early Roman Fort No One Knew Existed

New details have emerged about a recently discovered early Roman fort on Fenchurch Street. The defensive works date from AD63 and cover almost four acres close to the Thames and London Bridge.

The date is important as it suggests the fort was erected shortly after Queen Boudicca had razed the new settlement of Londinium to the ground. The fortifications would have guarded this strategically important area while the city was rebuilt.

The Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) dig took place over a decade ago in Plantation Place, but the full research has only recently been revealed. The timber and earthwork fort sported huge reinforced banks, with a 'fighting platform' running along the top, broken up by towers and gateways. This structure was enclosed by double ditches up to 3m deep.

It's believed the fort was in use for just 10 years. The dig found little evidence of permanent accommodation, though a granary, administrative buildings, a cookhouse and latrine were discovered. The fort's 500 men were probably housed in tents rather than wooden barracks.

A more permanent fortress — whose remains can be seen from the Museum of London — was built near Cripplegate to the north-west of the city, 60 years later. It is not known where the soldiery were housed in the period between the two forts.

For those who want to learn more about the dig, a detailed report is now available from MOLA, priced £30.

Last Updated 16 May 2016