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St Martin's Lane, Little London car park, Roman site

A Scheduled Monument in Chichester, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.837 / 50°50'13"N

Longitude: -0.7768 / 0°46'36"W

OS Eastings: 486231.711453

OS Northings: 104877.206115

OS Grid: SU862048

Mapcode National: GBR DGS.GFG

Mapcode Global: FRA 968W.F75

Entry Name: St Martin's Lane, Little London car park, Roman site

Scheduled Date: 19 December 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005822

English Heritage Legacy ID: WS 375

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Chichester

Built-Up Area: Chichester

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Chichester St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Summary

Roman settlement and military establishment at Little London Car Park, 57m south of St Mary’s Hospital.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 6 November 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes Roman settlement and military establishment surviving as below-ground archaeological deposits. It is situated between St Martin’s Street and Little London Street in the centre of Chichester.

Four main phases of Roman occupation have been identified. The earliest features include an east-west orientated ditch filled with pottery dating between AD 43 and the mid second century, a pit, a hearth, oven and a building thought to have military origins. Phase II includes a large pit, probably dug for gravel in about AD 80-90, a masonry building, a slot for a timber building, post holes and a pit. Phase III includes a gravel layer, possibly of a courtyard, pits and second century AD occupation debris. The final phase includes the remains of a fourth century house with tessellated floor, hypocaust, masonry walls and painted plaster.

Partial excavation took place at the site in 1935-6, 1959-63, 1986, 1997 and 2004. The finds from the site include pieces of first century AD military equipment, pottery, brooches and bronze objects. In 1966, excavation prior to development north of St Mary’s Hospital, uncovered a military site, thought to be an early Roman fort or military supply depot, which may extend under Little London Car Park. Further to the north-east, near Chapel Lane, possible barracks have been identified along with finds of pila (javelins), stabbing spears, ballista bolt heads and a complete legionary gladius (sword). Parts of Roman legionary body armour, lorrica segmentata, have also been found at various sites across Chichester. Later medieval occupation was marked by pottery, wall foundations, floors and pits.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as the nearby Roman city walls are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Roman settlement and military remains at Little London Car Park are significant remnants of Roman Chichester, a civitas capital of the Regnenses (also referred to as the Regni or Regini). The Regnenses were a tribal grouping gathered together under the client king Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus by the Romans. Roman occupation at Chichester is thought to have begun with the construction of a military supply base shortly after the invasion. The site subsequently developed as a civitas capital, the earliest buildings of which were of timber construction, later replaced with more substantial masonry buildings. The enclosing town walls were built between the late 2nd century and early 3rd century AD.

Civitas capitals are towns which functioned as the principal centres of the civitatae or regions of Roman Britain. They were official creations, generally established in the later first and early second centuries AD in newly pacified areas where the process of Romanisation had been successfully inaugurated. They were often established on the sites of earlier tribal centres or settlements and were populated largely by native Britons rather than Roman citizens. Defensive walls usually defined the areas of civitas capitals, these ranging in size from c.14ha to c.58ha. Within the walled area the main features included: the forum-basilica, other major public buildings, private houses, shops and workshops, piped water and sewage systems, a planned rectangular street grid and, in some cases, waterfront installations.

The Roman settlement and military establishment at Little London Car Park survive well and are known to contain archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the Roman settlement and military establishment and the landscape in which they were constructed.

Chichester was a place of significance as a major tribal centre during the Roman period. The site at Little London Car Park has high potential for further archaeological investigation, which will provide further information regarding the earliest Roman military occupation and later development of the civitas capital.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
West Sussex HER 4583 - MWS6064, 4752 - MWS6208. NMR SU80SE110. PastScape 924921.

Source: Historic England

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