Visit to Roman Godmanchester July 2014

Ermine Street
Ermine Street

Three members of Gamarch, Christine Colby, Mary Collins and Rosemary Abbott and a group of local residents were led on a guided walk around various Roman sites in Godmanchester by Shirley Watson of the Porch Museum.   Whilst there is very little of Roman remains to be seen today, Shirley was able to tell us exactly where various excavations had discovered a large part of the original town.

There was more than one fort in the area and traces have been found of a Granary, a bathhouse, temple, cemetery, a mansio (a sort of lodging house for travellers) and shops including a glass kiln and bakery.  Medieval and modern houses cover a large amount of the Vicus (civilian settlement outside the forts).   There are four large gates North, South, East and West on the Via Devana (towards Cambridge), Ermine Street (towards London), the road to Sandy and the road across the river towards Huntingdon.

We were shown an excavation of Ermine Street and pottery found in the garden of a house built on the area of the Basilica (sort of Town Hall).  St Mary’s Church has a lot of Roman tile fragments set in the walls.  There is also a lot of Anglo-Saxon and Iron Age material to be found mixed in with the Romans as Godmanchester, known as Durovigutum seems to have been occupied for a very long time.

Many finds are in the Porch Museum www.godmanchester.co.uk and a valuable hoard of gold, silver, coins and an intaglio pendant is in the British Museum

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