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CASTLESHAW ROMAN FORTS

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  CASTLESHAW, RIGODVNVM, RIGODUNUM
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A sequence of Roman forts at Castle Shaw. The first fort on the site was an Agricolan period fort, built in turf and timber circa AD 79. This was refurbished soon after construction and then abandoned circa AD 95. Within the south eastern half of the fort a fortlet was constructed, also in turf and timber, circa AD 105. This was developed during its brief occupation and then sleighted and abandoned circa AD 125.

Both military sites were constructed on a spur of higher ground, known as Castle Hill, overlooking Castleshaw Valley. The Roman road from Chester to York runs through the valley and the forts were built to defend and patrol the road in this section as it approaches the western Pennines. The original fort had two ditches outside a rampart enclosing an area 115 metres by 100 metres orientated north east to south west. Within this enclosure were the 'principia' (the administrative centre), the 'praetorium' (the officer's quarters), barracks and granaries. The fortlet, although on the site of the original fort, had two ditches and a rampart of its own and enclosed an area 50 metres by 40 metres with barracks, workshops and a large granary.

The Roman fort and fortlet survive reasonably well despite the damage caused by later land use and a number of archaeological excavations. Earthwork remains of the Roman road leading towards the fort survive 50 metres to the south east of Castle Hill. This was part of the road from Chester to York and another section is visible running north east from Castle Shaw Farm.

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