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Historic England Research Records

Cunetio

Hob Uid: 224765
Location :
Wiltshire
Mildenhall
Grid Ref : SU2185069360
Summary : The Roman settlement of Cunetio. The town plan has been revealed by evidence from aerial photographs and consists of a street system with several stone buildings identifiable, including a large complex surrounding a courtyard within the centre of the settlement. The town was enclosed by two phases of defences, with stone defences replacing the earlier phase in the 4th century. These enclosed an area of some 7.5 hectares on a more irregular alignment. The defences comprised a wall, and six external towers were present on the south wall, three on either side of the south gate. Excavations of one of the towers found it to be contemporary with the wall. One of the buildings situated in the north-west corner of the later defences was excavated and found to comprise a range of rooms linked within a corridor and possible projecting wings. It is of unknown date, but is thought to be either contemporary or later than the defences. It was originally thought to have an official function, but there is little evidence to support this.
More information :

1. (Name at SU 21786938). Black Field. Roman Coins, Pottery etc frequently found. (NAT) (1)

2. (Centred SU 21656945) Walled town or fort (CUNETIO), possibly overlying an earlier fort (2). Roman town, Mildenhall: "Photographs show the defences, and much of the street plan, as well as buildings in the interior. It has defences in late 3rd century style with rectangular bastions, and a gateway with massive guard towers. These overlie an earlier ditched fortification" (3). (2-3)

3. "Bronze musical instrument, and a large collection of Roman pottery, including mortavia and other vessels of grey, yellow and Samian ware" incl stamps Bonoxvs and Tuttivs, presented to Wilts Arch Soc Museum by Rev C Soames. "These articles were discovered in what appears to have been a well situated in Black Field, at Mildenhall. "Well at least 25 ft deep, "filled up with fragments of pottery, bricks, tiles, clinkers, charcoal, bones of all sorts of domestic animals, and of birds, with shells of the oyster and the mussel (sic!)". Another poss well 40 yds off (4). Ro bricks, tiles, pottery and coins frequently found in Black Field, also many pits or wells, such as the above. "In a dry season it is quite possible to distinguish even the lines of the main streets and thoroughfares of the town by the difference in the growth of the corn". Coins range from Augustus to Honorius and Ariadius, with a few Republican (5). List of recent coin finds, incl some from "Cunetio" (6) and fibulae, rings and a bronze buckle. Mr R Butler, formerly of Stickcombe Farm, had in Black Field "at different times filled in several walls which interfered with agriculture", containing "pottery, horns and oyster shells". He also remembered that "at certain seasons one could stand on the hill above and trace the lines of the old streets by the different colours of the corn". List of coins Republican to Magnentius and Samian incl stamps Cvcalvs and Bvccvs (7). As above, plus "a figure rudely sculptured in relief 11 1/2" x 8" x 3" "found "at Stithcombe, near Mildenhall" (? from this site), in Devizes Museum (8). (4-8)

4. The publication of "Roman coins, pottery etc frequently found" was authorised by J W Brooke, who states that the true site of Cunetio was in Black Field (not around Mildenhall Church (see Wilts 29 SW 7) whence he had obtained "over 7000 Roman, and a few British, coins, some 60 fibulae, and (where he had) traced foundations, and (where) excavations have found at considerable depth, bronze relics, pottery, glass, roofing slabs etc, etc". The change of the published name "Cunetio" from the Mildenhall church site to Black Field was over-ruled by Walter Money, FSA who was of the opinion that it was not "desirable to alter Sir Richard Colt Hoare's fixture (of the site) for the sake of 30 chains", and by the authority of the previous site on the original plan and the original ONB. (9)

Name 'CVNETIO' accepted for 4th. edition R.B.Map. (10)

Roman building debris recovered from site by Swindon
Archaeological Society 1973-5.(11)

More finds from Cunetio noted in the Devizes
Museum Daybook 622 and Acc No. 162.1975. (12)

Article referring to coins (80 to 60,000) found around and on
site in October 1978.
(13)

Aerial photo with much detail of site. Full description of
fibulae and buckles, with parallels. (14)

The town plan has been revealed by evidence from aerial photographs and consists of a street system with several stone buildings identifiable, enclosed by two phases of defences. (15)

The street system has two parallel E-W streets, one of which may have once coincided with the Silchester-Bath road (RR53), and a N-S street. These appear to predate the defences. The defences have been excavated in the 1950s and 1960s, and demonstrated that there were two different phases on two different alignments.. (16,17)

Stone defences replaced the earlier defences (SU26NW100) in the 4th century. These enclosed an area of some 7.5 ha on a more irregular alignment. The defences comprised a wall, the foundations of which were 4.9m-5.6m wide. Six external towers ere present on the south wall, three on either side of the south gate, and at 36m intervals. Excavations of one of the towers found it to be contemporary with the wall. (18)

Two gateways were investigated. The south gate was flanked by semi-circular external towers. It was not aligned on the earlier gateway, but situated 35m to the east. The west gate was single-arched, designed to take vehicular traffic, but not used as such. (19)

No gateway was located on the east side. Instead the wall cut across the main internal E-W side street. This disregard of previous existing structures questions the role of the town as wholly civilian. One of the buildings situated in the NW corner of the later defences has been excavated and found to comprise a range of rooms linked within a corridor and possible projecting wings. It is of unknown date, but is thought to be either contemporary or later than the defences. It was originally thought to have an official function, but there is little evidence to support this. (20)

Buildings identified from APs include a large complex surrounding a courtyard within the centre of the settlement. Smaller buildings are present within and outside of the defences. (21)

The streets and some of the buildings within the Roman town are visible as pale cropmarks on 2018 Historic England oblique aerial photographs. (22)

 


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1943 Provisional Edition
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Source Number : 2
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (A L F Rivet, 10.1.53 AO/SP/13)
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference
Source details : Revision ONB 1943 p27
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Source Number : 9c
Source : Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference
Source details : Original ONB 28 OS 230 & letters pp 38-9
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Source Number : 9d
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Information from J W Brooke, The Green, Marlborough March 1899
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Source Number : 9e
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Information from Walter Money FSA, Snelsmore, Newbury March 1899
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : R4 H Borrill 16-APR-1997
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Source Number : 11
Source : Swindon Archaeological Society excavation and fieldwork, 1973-75
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) : 4, 1973-5
Source Number : 12
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 135
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 70-1, 1975-6
Source Number : 13
Source : Council for British Archaeology: Newsletter and calender
Source details :
Page(s) : 118-9
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Vol(s) : 1979
Source Number : 14
Source : Aerial archaeology : the journal for air photography and archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 107
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 4, 1979
Source Number : 15
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 53-5
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Vol(s) : 77, 1982
Source Number : 2a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : (J K St Joseph AW 23 24 25 and 26 AP2
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Source Number : 15
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Frere SS and St Joseph JKS, 1983. Roman Britain from the Air, 166-7.
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Source Number : 16
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Thomas N
Page(s) : 241-5
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 56, 1955-6
Source Number : 17
Source : British Archaeological Report (BAR) British series
Source details : Rodwell W and Rowley T (eds)
Page(s) : 12
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 15, 1975
Source Number : 18
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Annable KF
Page(s) : 233-5, 397
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 57, 1958-60
Source Number : 19
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 35
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 58, 1961-3
Source Number : 20
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : Annable FK and Clack AJ
Page(s) : 245
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1961-3
Source Number : 21
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Burnham BC and Clark AJ, 1880, The Small Towns of Roman Britain, 149-52
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Source Number : 22
Source : Oblique aerial photograph reference number
Source details : Historic England Archive 33545_016-032 10-JUL-2018
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Source Number : 3
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Letter (J K St Joseph, 27.10.53)
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Source Number : 4
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 121
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 1862
Source Number : 5
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : C Soames
Page(s) : 85-7
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 19, 1881
Source Number : 6
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details :
Page(s) : 413-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 26, 1982
Source Number : 7
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : A D Passmore
Page(s) : 392-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 41, 1920-2
Source Number : 8
Source : The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine
Source details : M E Cunnington
Page(s) : 197
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Plates :
Vol(s) : 45, 1930-2
Source Number : 8b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Devizes Museum Cat 2 37 273
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Town, Town Defences, Town Gate
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : COIN
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 300
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WI 666
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Wiltshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 201
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SU 26 NW 18
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1431218
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1858-01-01
End Date : 1859-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1860-01-01
End Date : 1860-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1912-01-01
End Date : 1912-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1956-01-01
End Date : 1964-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1965-01-01
End Date : 1965-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BLACK FIELD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1979-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, WEST OF CUNETIO, MILDENHALL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1997-01-01
End Date : 1997-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, AXFORD TO FOREST HILL WATER MAIN, MARLBOROUGH
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2000-01-01
End Date : 2000-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CUNETIO, MILDENHALL (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, HISTORIC ENGLAND AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE 2018-19 (SOUTH)
Activity type : AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE
Start Date : 2018-04-01
End Date : 2019-03-31