The site at Tiverton (Devon) was first recognized on RAF vertical photographs as a soil-mark just north of the town (SX 956143), where the narrow steep-sided valley of the Exe first opens out into a broader, if only temporary, plain.
The fort consists of a rectangular single-ditched enclosure with rounded corners, measuring 100 m by perhaps 135 m; but the south end could not be detected. Excavation and survey established that the fort was 1.4 hectares in area.
A single entrance was visible on the west side; excavation of the butt end of the ditch south of the causeway found enough pottery to suggest a more permanent work than a temporary camp and to date it provisionally to the mid-first century.
Excavation of the West gate demonstrated two phases, of which the Phase I gate had 4-post twin towers, these being replaced in Phase II by a simple gate without towers. Both phases belong to the third quarter of the 1st century. The whole causeway was 10.6 metres wide, the rampart being 6 metres wide. Subsequent to its discovery a sherd of samian ware was picked up from the site. A small-scale excavation was undertaken in 1981 on the southern defences, which were not visible on the air photographs. A ‘V’ shaped ditch circa 3 metres wide and 1.2 metres deep was located. Between 6 metres and 8 metres to the north of this was a concentration of Roman pottery. In 1982 the western entrance, visible on air photographs, was located on the ground and the butt-end of the ditch on the south side of the entrance was exposed. A section was cut across the western defences just to the south of the entrance causeway. A not inconsiderable quantity of pottery – samian, amphora and coarse wares – and part of a roof-tile were retrieved from the ditch fill. The date of this material was consistent with a mid-first century A.D. context for the site.
The site lies roughly midway between the forts of Exeter and Wiveliscombe, assuming a route up the Exe Valley and to the south of the Brendon Hills. Cropmarks resembling a fortlet were seen immediately south of the recorded fort.
Like the fort at Wiveliscombe (Somerset) 18 km to the north-east, this new discovery is sited immediately outside the belt of hills that fringes the Exmoor plateau.
References for Tiverton
- Air Reconnaissance in Roman Britain 1977-1984 by G.S. Maxwell & D.R. Wilson in Britannia xviii (1987) pp.2/3.
Map References for Tiverton
NGRef: SS9514 OSMap: LR181
Roman Roads near Tiverton
Sites near Tiverton Roman Fort
- Cullompton Forts (9 km)
Flavian Auxiliary Fort (AD 69–96)
- Rainsbury Roman Fort (15 km)
Possible Roman Fort
- Wiveliscombe (19 km)
- Stoke Hill Signal Station (19 km)
- Hembury Roman Fort (19 km)
Claudian Auxiliary Fort (AD 43–54), Iron Age Hillfort and Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure
- Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) Roman Fort (22 km)
- Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) Town (22 km)
- Bury Barton Roman Fort (23 km)
Neronian Auxiliary Fort (AD 54–68)
- Honiton (25 km)
- Norton Fitzwarren Temporary Camp (25 km)
Marching or Temporary Camp