The archaeological dig on the site of the new supermarket at
the bottom of Moorfield Road was one of the most exciting investigations of Roman Alcester
for years. We uncovered traces of the Roman town defences, a large stone-walled store
building, parts of other Roman houses and more of the marshy area that lay along the
Moorfields Road at that time.
The first town defences, built about A.D.200, apparently consisted of a clay bank with a timber breastwork and, in this part of the town, a ditch. 100 years later a stone store building was constructed, outside the defences. It probably held grain collected as taxes. By about A.D. 350 the building had been demolished in order to build a stone wall round the town centre. The 11 ft. wide wall was supported by a sophisticated foundation system: timber piles were driven into the ground, stone packed between them and then a layer of gravel, followed by a layer of clay was laid down, completing the work. The wall which would have stood on top had been removed at a later date. Strangely, there was no ditch in front of the wall. A few years later a series of towers was built on to the out side of the wall to bring the defences of Alcester into line with the latest thoughts on military architecture.
All this attention to the defences of the town took place in the last 60 years of the Roman occupation and indicates the importance attached by the provincial governor to the town. Alcester, which had begun 300 years earlier as nothing more than a few stalls outside the local army camp, was a sub regional centre for the northern part of the tribe of the Dobunni by the end of the 4th century.
Summer 1986 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1986