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Historic England Research Records

Luguvalium Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 10672
Location :
Cumbria
Carlisle
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : NY3970056100
Summary : The site of the Roman fort at Carlisle. Dendrochronology indicates the south defences were constructed in the autumn/winter of AD 72-3. It covered approximately 3.2 hectares, considerably larger than previously thought, and contained many timber buildings. Dendrochronological dating indicates reconstruction of the fort within its defensive perimeter occurred within the autumn/winter of AD 83-4. The fort was demolished in circa AD 103-5, and then rebuilt in timber. The fort was not abandoned following the construction of Hadrian's Wall, but at some point during Hadrian's reign a marked change in occupation occurred, with widespread internal re-planning. This is in all likelihood due to the construction of the fort at Stanwix less than 1km to the north, and the fort at Carlisle subsequently became less of a major military base. The fort was demolished around the middle of the second century, perhaps as a consequence of the Antonine reoccupation of southern Scotland. Widespread silting in the second half the second century is suggestive of abandonment of the fort. A building was erected in the south-east quadrant sometime after AD 165, and was associated with a road. Timber buildings were also present. At some time in the early third century the fort was rebuilt in stone in a conventional form. Few structural changes were made before the fourth century when some remodelling occurred. Occupation continued well into the fifth century. The levelled remains of the fort were covered by 'dark earth', although many walls were probably upstanding for many centuries, and were probably only robbed to ground level in the medieval period.
More information : (Centred NY 397561 - sited from plan, Authority 2). The first clear evidence for Roman military occupation of Carlisle came in 1892, when parts of a turf and timber platform, thought to represent an Agricolan fort, were discovered under Tullie House (4). The platform is the base of a building 40 feet wide from north to south, and the known length, not the full length, 220 feet east to west. (See illustration card) (1).

The exact position and limits of the fort are uncertain, but it seems probable from its scale and nature that it was a large fort, restricted by natural limitations up to circa 8 acres, and therefore possibly legionary. The platform has been generally accepted as the base of the northern rampart of a fort, but excavations to the north of this site in Annetwell Street in 1978 located a double portal entrance flanked by projecting towers, recessed into a turf and timber rampart discovered in 1973. (See illustration card). This gateway is now thought to be the southern gateway of the timber fort which extended over the area now occupied by the castle (see NY 35 NE 1.1), and not the Cathedral (see NY 35 NE 45) as previously thought (3).

The fort is of 2 phases. Evidence of the earliest occupation was found during excavations in 1954-6, when 2 pre-Hadrianic levels were discovered. The lowest level is Flavian, and is thought to represent the Agricolan bridgehead fort stage built as the western terminus of the Stonegate (RR 85), and as protection for crossing the River Eden. The second phase is attributed to a Trajanic reconstruction after demolition circa AD 100 (5).

As a result of excavations at Tullie House in 1954 and 1955 it is now known that the early military site was re-planned for civilian use. The 1st century fort was evacuated by the army early in the 2nd century, possibly on the establishment of the wall fort at Stanvix. (6) (1-8)

Finds from the fort site in Annetwell Street include wooden remains of ink writing tablets, a fragment of an unstratified red sandstone altar, measuring 0.40m by 0.36m, a fragment of a red sandstone sculptured relief, measuring 0.12m by 0.15m by 0.09m and two carved heads, interpreted as Genii, depicting figures wearing mural crowns.
(See illustration card). (9-11)

Additional bibliography. (12)

Illustration. (13)

Additional information from recent excavations and watching briefs. (14) - (29)

A turf and timber Roman fort was established in the early AD 70s and limited excavations close to the castle have located parts of the south and west defences incuding a waterlogged but well-preserved timber gateway. Futher excavation found that the fort's defences were moved further south in the second century and this may imply an enlargement of the fort area. In the third century the fort appears to have been enlarged again, limited excavation in Abbey Street and Castle Street found evidence for the defences of a stone fort south of the earlier defences. The fort was in use until the AD 330s. (30)

Scheduled (31)

A number of important excavations were undertaken in the fort between 1998 and 2001. Carlisle's City Council's Gateway (Millennium) Project greatly enhanced the understanding of the origins and development of the fort. Excavations were focused in the south part of the fort, including the probable praetentura and a small area of the latera praetorii. Dendrochronology indicates the south defences were constructed in the autumn/winter of AD 72-3. It covered approximately 3.2 hectares, considerably larger than previously thought and contained many buildings. Dendrochronological dating indicates reconstruction of the fort within its defensive perimeter occurred within the autumn/winter of AD 83-4. The fort was demolished in circa AD 103-5, and then rebuilt in timber. The fort was not abandoned following the construction of Hadrian's Wall, but at some point during Hadrian's reign a marked change in occupation occurred, with widespread internal re-planning. This is in all likelihood due to the construction of the fort at Stanwix less than 1km to the north. The installation was demolished around the middle of the second century, perhaps as a consequence of the Antonine reoccupation of southern Scotland. Widespread silting in the second half the second century is suggestive of abandonment of the fort. A building was erected in the south-east quadrant sometime after AD 165, and was associated with a road. Timber buildings were also present. At some time in the early third century the fort was rebuilt in stone in a conventional form. Few structural changes were made before the fourth century when some remodelling occurred. Occupation continued well into the fifth century. The levelled remains of the fort were covered by 'dark earth', although many walls were probably upstanding for many centuries, and were probably only robbed to ground level in the medieval period. (32)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (33)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : (D Charlesworth)
Page(s) : 115-117
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 135, 1978
Source Number : 2
Source : Roman frontier studies 1979: papers presented to the 12th International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 201-11
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 71 (i)
Source Number : 11
Source : Rescue news : the newspaper of RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust
Source details : (Coles & Orme)
Page(s) : 1, 8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 31, 1983
Source Number : 12
Source : Settlement and society in the Roman north
Source details :
Page(s) : 65, 70
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Roman forts of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD in Britain and the German provinces
Source details :
Page(s) : 84
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Carlisle Castle : a survey and documentary history
Source details :
Page(s) : 04-Jun
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.18
Source Number : 15
Source : Romans in north-west England : excavations at the Roman forts of Ravenglass, Watercrook and Bowness on Solway
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : vol.1
Source Number : 16
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 87
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 88, 1988
Source Number : 17
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 67
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 94, 1994
Source Number : 18
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 31-48
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 91, 1991
Source Number : 19
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 410
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 13, 1982
Source Number : 20
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 290-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 14, 1983
Source Number : 3
Source : Current archaeology
Source details : (M McCarthy)
Page(s) : 269-270
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 68, 1979
Source Number : 21
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 280
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1984
Source Number : 22
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 274-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16, 1985
Source Number : 23
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 437
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17, 1986
Source Number : 24
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 275
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 18, 1987
Source Number : 25
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 438,495
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 19, 1988
Source Number : 26
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 45-109
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 23, 1992
Source Number : 27
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 335
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 20, 1989
Source Number : 28
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 320,366
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1990
Source Number : 29
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 299, 301,235
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1991
Source Number : 30
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details :
Page(s) : 263
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 25, 1994
Source Number : 4
Source : Research on Hadrian's Wall
Source details :
Page(s) : 137
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 31
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 07-Aug-96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 32
Source : Hadrian's Wall 1999-2009
Source details :
Page(s) : 140-150
Figs. : 42
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 33
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (R Hogg)
Page(s) : 58-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 64, 1964
Source Number : 6
Source : Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society
Source details : (R Hogg)
Page(s) : 72
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 55, 1956
Source Number : 7
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (R Goodburn)
Page(s) : 281
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 10, 1979
Source Number : 8
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (F O Grew)
Page(s) : 359-360
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11, 1980
Source Number : 9
Source : Council for British Archaeology Group 3: Archaeological newsbulletin
Source details : (T Podley)
Page(s) : 9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1983
Source Number : 10
Source : Britannia : a journal of Romano-British and kindred studies
Source details : (Hassell & Tomlin)
Page(s) : 379
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 12, 1981

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From AD 103-5
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 105
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From mid C2
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 150
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From AD 165
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 165
Monument Type : Building, Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Early C3
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 201
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From C4
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 301
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From AD 72-73
Monument End Date : 83
Monument Start Date : 72
Monument Type : Fort, Legionary Fortress, Building
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : From AD 83-4
Monument End Date : 103
Monument Start Date : 83
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 3
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 54
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : CU 336
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27657
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 35 NE 72
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1031541
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 11402
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1325580
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 10565
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 10633
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, TULLIE HOUSE GARDEN (LUGUVALIUM)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1954-01-01
End Date : 1956-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, KEAY'S LANE CAR PARK, BLACKFRIARS STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1977-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CARLISLE CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ANNETWELL STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1981-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CASTLE STREET
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ABBEY STREET
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TULLIE HOUSE MUSEUM, ABBEY STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1989-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ANNETWELL STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1989-01-01
End Date : 1989-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, 21-33 ANNETWELL STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1991-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, TULLIE HOUSE LIFT SHAFT
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, 21 CASTLE STREET/LONG LANE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1990-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, SPRING GARDENS LANE, (BOWLING GREEN)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CARLISLE CASTLE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GATEWAY CITY MILLENNIUM PROJECT (MIL 5)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 2001-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CARLISLE MILLENNIUM PROJECT
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1998-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, WATERLOGGED CARLISLE
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 2012-01-01
End Date : 2012-12-31