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New Discoveries
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Birmingham's Roman Fort (Metchley) Main Findings

Main findings from the excavations

The fort was established by AD 48. It was part of a network of forts across the Midlands, linked by a network of roads. Part of the Roman road which ran from the Birmingham Roman fort (Metchley) to another fort at Wall near Lichfield can still be seen in Sutton Park

The fort was located near a road junction and on a plateau near good water supplies. It was originally about 200m square, and was defended by a turf and earth bank with a timber wall and towers, and double ditches. The fort contained rows of timber buildings, including barrack blocks, a granary, a workshop and a store.

The fort was extended on three sides by the addition of defended annexes, which were used for tethering horses, storage and small-scale industrial activity such as ironworking.

Later the fort's buildings were replaced by other structures including compounds which suggest that it was now being used as a stores depot.

In the later 1st century AD a smaller fort was built inside the earlier one.

Pottery from the site, and additional defensive ditches on different alignments from the earlier ones, show that the fort was occupied until the end of the 2nd century AD, possibly as a 'mansio' or stopping point along the road network for official travellers.

There was a civilian settlement or 'vicus' outside the fort - Birmingham's first village. It consisted of timber buildings and yards alongside a road leading from the fort's west gate, and was occupied for just a few years, when the fort was at its largest.

Metchley Roman Fort - About AD50 Image Showing Reconstruction of Metchley Roman Fort - About AD50

Related Links
Birmingham's Roman Fort (Metchley) Main Page
Archaeology Main Page
Contact Birmingham's Planning Archaeologist
Last updated - Tuesday 22 January 2008 Return to Top | Printer Friendly