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CAISTER ON SEA Norfolk, England.

A Roman walled town on the N shore of the Yare estuary, 5 km N of Great Yarmouth. The Saxon Shore fort of Burgh Castle was 8 km away, across the estuary. The defenses of Caister, a square of 3.6-4 ha, are of two periods, a palisade of the 2d c. succeeded by a stone wall of undetermined date. At the SE angle, as presumably at the others, was an internal turret. It is unknown whether external towers were ever added to the circuit. Much of the interior is covered by modern buildings, and the only excavated area is part of the S end, between the S gate and the SW angle. The only substantial Roman building recorded is a large structure round a courtyard or part of one. One of its wings had been divided into several small chambers, indicating that it may have been an inn or a brothel.

The position of Caister on an estuary points to its use as a port, but the associated installations have not yet been traced. It is possible, though unproven, that the place played some part in coastal defense during the late Roman period.


VCH Norfolk 1 (1901) 293; J. A. Ellison, “Excavations at Caister-on-Sea 1961-2,” Norfolk Archaeology 33 (1962) 94.


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