Great Casterton Vicus

Roman Settlement

The first vicus-like settlement developed along the line of Ermine Street in a loop of the River Gwash, its beginnings were contemporary with the fort, and it continued to be occupied into the fourth century. Evidence of ore-smelting has been found within the defences and dated to the late-first century. A possible late-first century bath-house has been identified lying about 30 feet (c.10m) east of Ermine Street and 130ft (c.40m) from the later southern gateway of the town. A pottery kiln dated around 150-180AD was found (c.35m) east of Ermine Street close to the north-eastern defences of the town but predating them. Another undated kiln was found nearby.

The towns defences were arranged in the form of an elongated polygon of 7 or 8 faces which enclosed an area of 18 acres (7.3Ha) and were probably erected around the turn of the third century. They consisted of a 8ft (2.43m) wide stone wall, backed by an earthen rampart 30ft (9.14m) wide, fronted originally by a 7ft (2.13m) wide berm and three ditches, but later replaced in the early fourth century by a single ditch measuring an average 62ft (18.9m) wide and 11ft (3.35m) deep, cut 27ft (8.23m) out from the existing wall.

The Roman cemetery lay to the south of the settlement along Ermine Street, and continued in use during Saxon times.