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Alchester Roman parade ground, access road and marching camp

A Scheduled Monument in Ambrosden, Oxfordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.875 / 51°52'29"N

Longitude: -1.1608 / 1°9'38"W

OS Eastings: 457867.443979

OS Northings: 219934.991801

OS Grid: SP578199

Mapcode National: GBR 8XQ.F9Z

Mapcode Global: VHCX9.T4PG

Entry Name: Alchester Roman parade ground, access road and marching camp

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2017

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443650

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Ambrosden

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Merton

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Summary

Site of a Roman parade ground and part of a temporary marching camp 500m to the SE of the Roman settlement of Alchester.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS
The monument includes the buried archaeological deposits of a Roman parade ground, a Roman access road and part of a temporary camp as evident on aerial photographs. The monument lies on pasture over low-lying gravel to the ESE of the scheduled Roman settlement of Alchester (old county number OX18), located at SP 5785 1984 (centre).

DESCRIPTION
The monument includes the ditches of the Roman temporary camp’s S arm and its NE corner observed during the evaluation; the fragmentary W arm lies outside of the monument. The ditches are shallow but had a distinctive V-shaped profile, typical of Roman military construction. The NE corner is located some 301-7m N of the camp’s S arm.

The rectangular parade ground of approximately 1.9ha in size measures approximately 150m N-S by x 126m E-W and is enclosed by U-shaped ditches with rounded corners. The S ditch of the parade ground cuts into, and follows the line of, the S ditch of the camp. The parade ground is accessed via a straight road from the N, apparently metalled and ditched, which measures approximately 233m long x 13m wide and survives as a buried feature evident on aerial photographs, but not observed during the evaluation. The road terminates at the confluence of two water courses at the N boundary of the area assessed. No evidence of a gate or entrance between the S end of the road and the parade ground was found during the archaeological evaluation. The interior of the parade ground consists of a platform of laid gravel or metalling, the extent of survival is not clear.

A buffer of 2m is included around the Roman parade ground, access road and marching camp for the preservation and protection of the scheduled monument.

EXCLUSIONS
All modern fences, fence posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Roman parade ground at Alchester Roman settlement, located at NGR SP 5785 1984 (centre), is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the buried remains of the ditches and Roman access road survive well, and it is believed that some of the gravelled surface remains in situ;
* Rarity: this is a rare site-type, believed by some to be one of the earliest examples in the Roman Empire, and one of only a very small number known and designated in Britain;
* Potential: is good for the survival of important information on the date and use of this monument retained in the buried deposits;
* Documentation: good archaeological documentation for the site is provided by aerial photographs and the results of archaeological trial trenching;
* Group value: strong historical, functional and proximal group value with the scheduled settlement of Alchester;
* Historic importance: the likely association with Vespasian and chronological relationship with a temporary marching camp, which probably predates the fortress, enhances the historic importance of the monument.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Henig, Martin, Booth, Paul, Allen, Tim, Roman Oxfordshire, (2000), 37, 52-8
Sauer, E, Crutchley, S, Erwin, P, 'The Military Origins of the Roman Town of Alchester' in Britannia, , Vol. 30, (1999), 289-297
Sauer, E W, 'Inscriptions from Alchester: Vespasian's Base of the Second Augustan Legion?' in Britannia, , Vol. XXXVI, (2005), 101-133
Websites
Britannia article by Sauer, Crutchley and Erwin, accessed 25/06/14 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/526685
Britannia XXXVI, accessed 19th January 2017 from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/britannia/article/div-classtitleinscriptions-from-alchester-vespasianandaposs-base-of-the-second-augustan-legiondiv/40B05D749481D78BE302EAB4FF8787D6
References for scheduled monuments from CADW, accessed 25/2/17 from http://cadwpublic-api.azurewebsites.net/reports/sam/FullReport?lang=en&id=2455
Victoria County History, accessed 17th January 2017 from www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/oxon/vol1/pp281-303
Other
Alchester Roman Town. C Stoertz. RCHME report November 1998.

Source: Historic England

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