Roman Fort. Possible Roman Marching Camp.
Melandra is situated on a promontory and overlooks the River Etherow, in the Peak District of Derbyshire. It has good views of the surrounding countryside.
The site measures approximately 113.8 meters east to west, by 126.4 meters north to south. The Doctor’s Gate Roman road led from the east gate to Navio Fort. This is not the Roman name for the road but was given to it in 1657 and named after a well-known doctor of the time.
The fort is of the usual playing card shape with four gateways. Three of the gates were double width with the south gate being only single width. Internally, archaeology has uncovered the remains of angle towers inside the walls, a granary, barrack blocks, the principia, buildings relating to industrial work; and externally, evidence of a camp oven in the eastern rampart area and the Bath House which was located outside of the north west corner of the fort. There was also a large vicus located to the south and south west of the fort.
The site was defended by a ditch and rampart, and a stone wall was constructed in 108/110 AD. When the site was abandoned the rampart was demolished into the ditch.
The Bath House had three phases of construction and included two wings. There is evidence of the usual internal rooms, including the frigidarium (cold room), and the cauldarium (hot room). There is also evidence of a Mansio at the site. The building was constructed of timber and later demolished around 140 AD.
Archaeological evidence has shown that the fort was constructed in stone by Cohors Primae Frisiavonum, the First Cohort of Frisiavones. The evidence is a building stone inscribed, RIB 279.
It is then believed the fort was garrisoned by the 3rd Cohort of Bracara Augustini. The Barrack blocks demonstrate that the site was garrisoned by around 500 men – 6 barrack blocks.
The archaeology from the site is interesting, and although it is recorded that the early excavations did more harm than good, some of the finds are unique.
Most of the finds are held at Buxton Museum.
RIB 279 – From the First Cohort of Frisiavonians the century of Valerius Vitalis (Built this).
RIB 280 – For the Emperor Caesar … Trajan ….
For further information about the above click on the following links –
A pebbled road measuring approximately 2.5 meters wide has been identified and located on the outer edge of the ditch. These gravel roads were called via glareata and were one of the three categories of roads/tracks constructed by the Romans, basically this was a B Class road!!
Here is the Timeline for Melandra,
70 First fort constructed in timber.
83-125 Samien ware dated to.
c.108-110 Defensive wall constructed. Rebuilt in stone by the First Cohort of Frisiavones.
c.120 Additions to the Bath House.
c.120-140 Further additions to the Bath House.
134 Archaeological Find: Jewish coin of the insurgent leader Barcochab dates from.
c.140 Mansio demolished.
3rd C Pottery sherds date from.
1771 Rector John Watson identified the site as Ardotalia.
1841 Copper Domitian coin found at the site.
1965 Field Investigation. Surveyed.
1966 – 1969 Excavated.
1973 The Melandra Field Group identified the remains of the Bath House.
1999 Field Investigation. Survey.
2020 On the Heritage at Risk Register.
Hopefully this amazing little site can be preserved for the future. Heritage at Risk is serious. Once it has gone – it is gone forever……..
References & Bibliography.
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