Ardotalia Vicus

Roman Settlement

The Ardotalia vicus was the civilian settlement that grew up around the Roman fort. This one had a protective stockade on top of a banked earthwork around its outskirts. Today much of the vicus lies under the Gamesley housing estate, but rescue archaeology has shown there to have been a variety of interesting features. Between the fort and the modern road was a Mansio – an official inn for government officials. This was unusually large for such a small fort, and consisted of a reception room, sleeping and servants’ quarters, kitchen, dining room, latrines and stables.

A cremation cemetery lay 750 feet south of the fort close to the Roman road. From this, five cremation burials inside urns were recovered and there would have been more that have been left undiscovered. To the north of the fort was a small industrial zone. Evidence from excavation of hearths shows that there was iron, glass and lead manufacturing occurring here.

Further out still were outlying farmsteads which may well have been owned by veteran soldiers. It was fairly common for those that made it through 25 years of service to be given a farm nearby, and these men could be relied on if there was any trouble in the area.