Type: Fort, Fort, Camp
The site was first recognised by Frank Noble in 1956, who identified the defences of a Roman fort during trenching in the area. Initial finds included fragments of hypocaust tiles, indicating the presence,somewhere on the site, of a bath-house, also pieces of an amber-glass jug. Aerial photographs taken by Professor J.K. St. Joseph in 1969 also identified four Roman marching camps in the immediate neighbourhood, three at Walton (SO2559) and another at Hindwell Farm (vide infra), thus confirming the importance of this site in Roman times. Roman material uncovered during ploughing at the fort and later published by W.R. Pye also in 1969 included fragments of early samian-ware forms 24/35 and 15/16, which suggested that the site was occupied during the early Roman campaigns through the area, perhaps in late-Claudian/early-Neronian times.
"... surface finds of South Gaulish samian, with other first-century pottery and tile fragments, indicate a Claudio-Neronian date ..." (Britannia 1970)
Excavations conducted on the site during the construction of a new silo in 1975 revealed the western defences of a fort. These consisted of two superimposed military ditches, which probably indicates at least two occupation periods, the earlier having a typical military V-shaped profile was 17ft wide and 8½ft deep (5.2 x 2.6 m), and was later infilled with the material from the original turf rampart. The second ditch was of the fossa punica type (i.e. with an almost vertical outer face), 21¼ft wide and 7¾ deep (6.5 x 2.35 m). Finds included four forged Claudian coins, an iron ballista-bolt similar to those found at Hod Hill, and several pieces of "pre-Flavian" samian ware including a bowl stamped by the potter PASSIENVS, who was active c.55-65AD. Although the complete circuit of the defences are not established, the fort occupied a platform of levelled ground which was seen to cover an area of about 5 acres (c.2ha).
Aside from the large camp on Hindwell Farm which lies to the west of the fort (detailed below), there are three smaller camps situated to the south of the fort at Walton.
|SO250608||1,560 x c.1,220 ft
(475 x 372 m)
|The outline of this camp is only partially recorded, but its complete plan may be inferred. The eastern corner-angle is known, along with most of the south-east side, including a gateway, and about two-thirds of the north-east side. The western angle also survives, with a short length of the north-west side and about half of the south-west. A tumulus lies close outside the north-east defenses and another lies about 460ft outside the south-east defences. The group of three smaller camps lie about 2,000ft to the SSE at Walton, and the Hindwell Farm fort lies about 1,500ft to the east on the opposite side of the B4357. The minor road between Hindwell Farm and Four Stones cuts across the north corner of the encampment.|