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 Post subject: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT, HADRIANS WALL.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:04 pm
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Location: just outside the fort
After a few days taking in the history and culture of the north east, (Beamish museum, the Tyne bridges, the Gateshead slug? and the VERY impressive Angel of the North) we returned via Hadrians Wall.
Here's some shots of Chesters fort.
The Bath House

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Three different types of material for supporting the floor for hypercaust heating.

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 Post subject: Re: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT, HADRIANS WALL.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:22 pm
Posts: 1845
Location: Fleetwood
Excellent Frank. Those changing rooms look a bit small though...

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 Post subject: Re: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT, HADRIANS WALL.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 6:39 pm 
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Posts: 230
Fantastic pictures Frank..really good. You do wonder how the hypocaust could have become "forgotten" till the 20th Century...when it's cold up north, it's cold. There's an interesting story as to how and when Hadrian's Wall fell into disuse, but I'm not the person to tell that story cos I'm not at all clear about it. What I do know is that Ribchester was still in use (as was some of the forst on the wall) well into the 5th Century and Ribchester was still part of the military structures in the northern part of the province, linked no doubt to York and may be on the western side via Lancaster to Carlisle...discuss.


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 Post subject: Re: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT, HADRIANS WALL.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:04 pm
Posts: 614
Location: just outside the fort
Terry,
I would think you are probably correct in assuming that ‘Roman’ life went on to some extent after the army left, I have always thought it hard to believe that things would change immediately, rather than gradually. Certainly the exit of the army would cause hardship to the local population who serviced and supplied them, but would society have totally collapsed, I doubt it. There is quite a lot of discussion in the archaeology magazines on the end of empire at the moment so it’s a subject that will be debated for a long time to come. Then there is the theory that the ‘dark ages’ were created by a volcanic eruption of much greater strength than Krakatoa, causing a nuclear winter for many years.
As you said Ribchester was occupied up to the end, or beyond as was Carlisle, but what of Kirkham. We are told that the fort was abandoned around AD170, but was there any other occupation in the vicinity. Some theorise that Kirkham was a retirement base for the cavalrymen from Ribchester, if so where did they live, not in the fort, but maybe a sort of villa. Some evidence of Roman occupation has been found by Lancaster University Archaeological Unit in the town centre and two small coin hoards have been discovered in the town the early1900s.
An interesting tale has just come to light in that when the fine old red brick buildings that surrounded the market square were demolished to make way for the ugly grey brick shops that are there now, after the demolition of the buildings, the area was being cleared for the foundations of the new development. The excavators broke into, or unearthed a room or area with a mosaic floor. My collegue’s friend’s grandfather was working at the site and witnessed this, but the site management insisted that the evidence be covered up and no one to reveal what was found or they would all lose their jobs. This person only revealed the facts to his family many years later, and was very regretful for not having spoken out at the time. I am currently trying to find out more on this and will reveal any new info I come across.

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 Post subject: Re: CHESTERS ROMAN FORT, HADRIANS WALL.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Posts: 230
Frank,

From memory (my usual disclaimer), Kirkham was important in the takeover of Brigantian territory after the Cartimanduan/Venutius spat. It's postulated by David Shotter that this takeover in he North-West was done with the aid of seaborne forces and I think Kirkham was one of the bases created in that period. I think it must have lain closer to the Ribble then than it does now. It's importance, once Brigantia had been pacified would therefor have reduced hence the early abandonment (as a fort). Now as to whether a civil settlement continued beyond the fort going into dis-use, well that's probably another story. The gist being that when the Roman' arrived there were few settlements of any size, although one or two British Oppidums had begun to appear. When the Romans built their forst and roads they also created towns associated with them from scratch. The civil vici, associated with the forts, were largely dependant on the forts and the military and as such had no organic raison d'etre. Many of these towns fell into disuse in later periods presumably because their economic underpinning disappeared (bit like inner cities, now). It seems that as the society in Roman Britain was largely agrarian, large settlements weren't required and either disappeared completely or shrank. No doubt where a fort or fortress was maintained then the civil settllement prospered. It must have required lots of Imperial treasury money to keep some of these towns going and that cost would be an easy one to cut when money was tight. Even towns the size of London fell into dis-use towards the end of the Roman Imperial connection, so Kirkham would have had to have a special local significance to persist as a settlement...may be it just became a farm or villa? Not that any such villas are known in this neck of the woods...these type of settlement (villas) seem to be associated with stability and profitable agriculture and are larely confined to the south and east of England. Still, a villa in the Fylde would be a nice find.


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