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Part of the Roman Settlement of Abonae

A Scheduled Monument in Stoke Bishop, Bristol

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Latitude: 51.4791 / 51°28'44"N

Longitude: -2.6496 / 2°38'58"W

OS Eastings: 354985.847156

OS Northings: 175766.174994

OS Grid: ST549757

Mapcode National: GBR JN.L26W

Mapcode Global: VH88M.124Z

Entry Name: Part of the Roman Settlement of Abonae

Scheduled Date: 5 August 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1408558

County: Bristol

Electoral Ward/Division: Stoke Bishop

Built-Up Area: Bristol

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bristol

Church of England Parish: Stoke Bishop

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The buried remains of part of a first to fourth century AD Roman town and port, known as Abona or Abonae, stands at the junction of the rivers Avon and Trym. The site is not visible at ground level but survives as buried features. The settlement overlooks the River Avon at Sea Mills, Bristol.

Source: Historic England


The Romano-British settlement and port of Abonae at Sea Mills is located on a sloping and terraced bank, close to the confluence of the rivers Avon and Trym. It survives largely as buried features, with a core concentration between the Portway, the railway line, and the left bank of the mouth of the River Trym.

The area includes the remains of the first and second century Roman settlement at Hadrian Close. Recent excavations revealed archaeological deposits lying 0.12 to 1.08m beneath the modern ground surface, including a cobbled linear road running north-east to south-west. There is a clear focus of occupation and structural activity to either side of this road including the remains of a number of buildings in the form of wall footings. In some cases these are likely to be shops with narrow frontages. Ditches, drains and cobbled yard surfaces have also been uncovered, along with hearths and kilns. Large quantities of pottery have been recovered, including 5,268 Roman sherds. They include a mixture of continental and regionally-traded wares such as samian ware (probably linked with the military occupation); black burnished wares; mortaria; and amphorae. Building material including stone, brick, box flue tile and floor and roof tile has been recovered. Other finds include Romano-British burials, later burials, brooches, pins and bracelets, domestic cooking items, personal grooming items, Roman vessel glass and coins. Sub-Roman remains in the form of burial pits and human remains are scattered across the excavated area and are likely to represent squatter-like activity after the main periods of occupation of the settlement. Further Roman deposits, including cobbled surfaces, have been made in the allotments to the west and on the bank of the River Avon.

All standing buildings and above ground structures are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

The scheduling includes a 2m margin around all the nationally important features to provide an appropriate level of support and protection for the scheduled monument.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Part of the Roman Settlement of Abonae, Sea Mills, Bristol is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: archaeological evaluation and recording from the C18 to the present day has demonstrated that this part of the settlement survives particularly well, retaining considerable evidence for occupation from the C1 AD to the later C4 AD;
* Rarity: as a particularly early Roman town and port, dating to the earliest phase of Romanisation in England and the West Country it is very rare in a national context;
* Potential: archaeological evaluation has confirmed that the site has very high potential for adding to our understanding of the development of the town and the social and economic changes that the Roman Conquest brought. The site also has considerable potential for the preservation of water-logged deposits which may preserve organic material such as wood, leather, fabric and plant remains;
* Group Value: as a significant port and settlement, Abonae formed part of a wide network of Roman sites, with links to settlements in Bath and most probably Gloucester.

Source: Historic England


Sea Mills, Bristol: the 1965-1968 excavations in the Roman town of Abonae, accessed from

Source: Historic England

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