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Roman Britain

Durobrivae Wall Found by Chance

Edited from BBC News, 19 June 2007

Archaeologists who had set out to put up a safety fence at Rochester's medieval castle in 2007 unexpectedly uncovered a city wall which dated back to the Roman city of Durobrivae.

The team had 'barely taken off the turf when they unearthed a solid mass of stone masonry', according to a representative from Medway Council.

Castle archaeologist Graham Keevill called it 'a very important discovery'. He said: 'We don't have many Roman city walls surviving in England. To get an unexpected one like this is fantastic. It is also a perfect example.'

'Good masonry'

He said the wall had 'high-quality' facing stones on each side. Its rubble core, which was made up of a mixture of stone, flint, sand, and gravel, would have had to have been been poured in 'to set hard almost like concrete, to bind the whole wall together'.

Builders who came later in the twelfth century 'knew good masonry when they saw it' and used the 1.8 metre-wide Roman wall for the foundations of their medieval castle keep, according to Graham Keevill.

The pits would later be re-covered to preserve the find, and the safety fence would be realigned.

This was the second time that Graham Keevill had unexpectedly discovered Roman remains. At the Tower of London he was part of the team which found a city wall of Roman Londinium, which had been re-used in the foundations of a medieval tower.

'It's an amazing coincidence,' he admitted.

The work which was underway at Rochester Castle in 2007 was part of a conservation project which had been undertaken by Medway Council and English Heritage to repair the ramparts and some stonework, along with fitting new balustrades, and putting up the aforementioned safety fence.

According to the council, the Romans built their fort next to the River Medway to guard the bridge which carried their legions - and over three centuries of subsequent troop movements - from Dover to London.

 

 

     
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