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Historic England Research Records

Great Chesters Roman Fort

Hob Uid: 15336
Location :
Northumberland
Greenhead
Grid Ref : NY7037366793
Summary : The earthwork remains of Great Chesters (Aesica) Roman fort. It occupies an area of 3.36 acres (1.36 ha) and was one of the final Wall forts (with Carrawburgh) to be built in circa AD 128-38, it was simply attached to the rear of the Wall. The buildings of Great Chesters Farm impose on its north side and it is cut by a farm track on its east. The north extreme of the fort is defined by Hadrian's Wall and the line of the Military Way is presumed to enter and leave through the east and west gateways. The excavations which revealed various internal buildings have now been backfilled though there are various earthworks indicating the sites of buildings. Of the angle-towers only the SW and NW examples are now visible; some stretches of the fort wall still survive. Excavations uncovered late Roman 'chalets'. The outer defences appear to consist of two ditches on the east and south with four ditches on the west side as revealed by excavation. The west gate still shows the later blocking of the portal, on other fort sites this tended to be removed by the excavators. A hoard of late 2nd century jewellery was recovered from the western guard-chamber of the south gate.
More information : [NY 70376680] AESICA Roman Fort [G.S.]
[NY 70406677] Gold, Silver & Bronze objects found AD 1894 [T.I] (1)

The fort, completed in A.D. 127, measures 419ft. by 355ft and faces east. A system of four ditches on the west side, overlain at the north end by the Wall, suggests that it was originally laid out with room for enlargement. The south and west gates, and N.W. and S.W. angle-towers, excavated in 1894-97, are exposed; and remains of several internal buildings visible. A hoard of late 2nd c jewellery was recovered from the western guard-chamber of the south gate, about 3 ft from its north wall, during the excavations (3)). The Roman name of the fort was Aesica (2). (2-3)

Published survey (25") revised. The main rampart and ditch of the fort are well preserved; but the multiple ditch system on the west side is discernible, only, as a series of slight banks and superficial depressions. Internal remains, also, are generally poorly defined.
Inferred find-spot of jewellery hoard at NY 70416675.
Name 'AESICA' accepted for 4th. edition R.B. Map (4)

The Roman Fort of Great Chesters was surveyed by RCHME in response to a HBMC request to provide them with a plan as an aid to the implementation of future management policy on the site, and also as part of RCHM's continuing commitment to revising and updating the Hadrian's Wall field record. In the short term, the HBMC decision to backfill the early excavations of the Barrack Block, South Gateway and Bath-house which deteriorated and which were threatened with further erosion by stock prompted the immediate need to record these areas by large scale survey. These three zones were surveyed at a scale of 1:100 and the fort and its immediate environs at 1:500. (5)

Scheduled (6)

The fort of Great Chesters was recorded from aerial photographs at a scale of 1:10000 as part of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site Mapping Project. (7-8)

Located on the English Heritage map of Hadrian's Wall 2010. (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" (Prov) 1946
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Source Number : 2
Source : Research on Hadrian's Wall
Source details :
Page(s) : 188-91, 267
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR NY 7066/11 (2171/425) 26-JUL-1984
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Source Number : 8
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : CUCAP (K17AU014) 17-MAY-1980
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Source Number : 9
Source : An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 scale
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - fort/pencil survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica/ink survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - Roman Fort and environs
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - drainage ditch to north/pencil survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - east of fort/pencil survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - south gate/ink survey
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Source : Hadrian's Wall/notebook
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Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (AJ Evans)
Page(s) : 177
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Vol(s) : 55, 1896
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - eastern part of fort + field system/pencil survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - fort and environs/ink survey
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Source : Great Chesters - Aesica - barracks/ink survey
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Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RWE 31-MAY-66
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Donnie Mackay/15-NOV-1988/RCHME: Great Chesters Roman Fort Survey
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Source Number : 5a
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (RC Bosanquet)
Page(s) : 130-62
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Vol(s) : 6, 1929
Source Number : 5b
Source : The Aesica hoard [of jewellery, Great Chesters, Northumberland]
Source details :
Page(s) : 225-34
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Vol(s) : 1
Source Number : 5c
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (JP Gibson)
Page(s) : 19-64
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Vol(s) : 24, 1901-2
Source Number : 5d
Source : Archaeologia Aeliana : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : (M R Hull)
Page(s) : 197-202
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Vol(s) : 4, 1926
Source Number : 6
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 14-Jul-97
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Built c.128-138
Monument End Date : 138
Monument Start Date : 128
Monument Type : Fort
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Late 2nd Century
Monument End Date : 200
Monument Start Date : 167
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : HOARD, JEWELLERY
Object Material : Gold, Silver

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : ND 28
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 26065
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Hadrian's Wall Project Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 7066/9
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NY 76 NW 11
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 15443
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 15376
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1083100
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1127793
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1128082
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1130536
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1767-01-01
End Date : 1767-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1800-01-01
End Date : 1899-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA), SOUTH GATE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1894-01-01
End Date : 1894-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1895-01-01
End Date : 1897-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1908-01-01
End Date : 1908-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (AESICA)
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1925-01-01
End Date : 1925-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (NORTH WALL)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1984-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS (NORTH DITCH)
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: GREAT CHESTERS ROMAN FORT SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1987-09-01
End Date : 1989-10-01
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: HADRIAN'S WALL WHS MAPPING PROJECT, NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2002-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, GREAT CHESTERS FORT
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31