Calleva Atrebatum – Roman Silchester

Related Articles

Related Articles

Calleva Atrebatum, also known as Silchester Roman City was a large Roman settlement located near the modern-day village of Silchester in Hampshire, England.

Calleva Atrebatum was the centre of the Iron Age Atrebates, a Belgic tribe that migrated from Gaul around 54 BC and was ruled by successive client Kings of Rome before becoming absorbed into the new Roman province of Britannia after the Romans invaded in AD 43.

The Iron Age oppidum was constructed on a gravel plateau spur around 20-10 BC, comprising of a series of defensive earthworks that covered an area of 79 acres. Excavations have revealed various period structures that include several roundhouses, wells, rectangular buildings, and a large gathering hall.

Roman Silchester – Image Credit : Peter Stewart

With the arrival of the Romans, there was a movement towards organising urban spaces into a grid-like street plan to imply a Romanised way of conferring civilisation. The Iron Age oppidum was reorganised into a system of rectilinear gravelled streets that stood at the junction of a number of major Roman roads connecting Calleva Atrebatum to Londinium (London), Venta Belgarum (Winchester), Noviomagnus Reginorum (Chichester) and Dorcic (Dorchester).

Calleva Atrebatum grew into a major commercial centre for trade and the administration of taxation in the region. The city included a forum, basilica, temples, workshops and shops, thermal baths, villas, and a large amphitheatre that could accommodate between 3500-7250 spectators.

Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Roman Silchester – Image Credit : Peter Stewart

In AD 200, construction began on a rampart of earth and clay that encircled the city. This was later reinforced with a stone wall in AD 270 that covered a length of 2.4km. Why the wall was constructed has been somewhat of an enigma for archaeologists and historians.

Calleva Atrebatum was no longer a frontier settlement, nor was there any evidence of a sizeable threat to the inhabitants. It is possible that the withdrawal of the Legions by Clodius Albinus in AD 196 (to claim the title of Emperor) led to the fortifications being erected in response to the sudden absence of the Roman military in the province.

Occupation of the town continued into the beginning of the fifth century, possibly extending to the late sixth-early seventh century. Unlike most major Roman settlements in southern England, Calleva Atrebatum never re-emerged as a substantial settlement, but instead became a small medieval village until it was deserted around AD 1400, possibly as a result of the black death plague that devastated medieval England.

Header Image Credit : Carole Raddato

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Takht-e Soleymān – The Throne of Solomon

Takht-e Soleymān is an archaeological site located near the modern-day town of Takab in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran.

New UD study shows that tropical forest loss is increased by large-scale land acquisitions

In recent years, there has been a rise in foreign and domestic large-scale land acquisitions--defined as being at least roughly one square mile--in Latin America, Asia, and Africa where investing countries and multinational investors take out long-term contracts to use the land for various enterprises.

New research reveals how water in the deep Earth triggers earthquakes and tsunamis

In a new study, published in the journal Nature, an international team of scientists provide the first conclusive evidence directly linking deep Earth’s water cycle and its expressions with magmatic productivity and earthquake activity.

Discovering an exoplanet the size of Neptune

An exoplanet the size of Neptune has been discovered around the young star AU Microscopii, thanks in part to the work of Jonathan Gagné, a former iREx Banting postdoctoral researcher who is now a scientific advisor at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

A Blue Spark to Shine on the Origin of the Universe

Why is our Universe made of matter? Why does everything exist as we know it? These questions are linked to one of the most important unsolved problems in particle physics.

Trimontium (Newstead) – The Roman Fort

Trimontium is Roman fort complex located in Newstead on the Scottish Borders.

Volcanic Eruption Caused Social and Political Unrest Leading to Rise of Roman Empire

The assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 BC triggered a 17-year power struggle that ultimately ended the Roman Republic leading to the rise of the Roman Empire.

Diets of Bronze-Age People in Southern Poland was Largely Vegetable Based

New study suggests that ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age people living in the southern parts of modern-day Poland survived mainly on a vegetable-based diet.

New Interactive Map Reveals the Lost Continent of Zealandia

A new mapping interface by the GNS Science’s Te Riu-a-Māui / Zealandia research programme (TRAMZ) reveals the geology of Aotearoa New Zealand and the lost continent of Zealandia.

Werwolf – The Classified Wehrmacht Bunker

Führerhauptquartier Werwolf was the codename for a bunker complex built during WW2 as a military headquarters for Adolf Hitler and his generals to monitor the eastern front.

Popular stories