Alchester (awarded 1997-2002)

Alchester is an early Roman fortress of AD 43 or 44. It consists probably of a main fortress (12-13ha) with an annexe (4 ha), dendro-dated to AD 44 (the earliest tree-ring dates from Roman Britain). The 2002 season has unearthed some of the most important waterlogged finds since the project began. They include three further oak posts, currently examined at Sheffield (presumably part of a small timber bridge over a drainage ditch) as well as evidence for the import of new plant species and culinary habits to Britain. New indications for a recent decrease in the water table show how vulnerable this exceptional waterlogged site is. A timber building with courtyard in the annexe is now known to exceed 45m in width and 55m in length. We also surveyed an Iron Age banjo enclosure and excavated parts of a large military granary and a (colonnaded?) street lined by 1st-2nd-century walls.

We are very grateful to the Roman Research Trust which has kindly supported the project ever since 1997 as well as to our other sponsors: the British Academy, the Administrators of the Haverfield Bequest and the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Oak post
One of the oak posts recovered in 2002, probably once supporting a small bridge over a drainage ditch (the scale is 3 x 100 mm)