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DERVENTIO (Little Chester) Derbyshire, England.

Mentioned as Derbentione in the Ravenna Cosmography (name from the Celtic name of the river Derwent). The earliest Roman occupation of Derventio almost certainly took the form of a fort on the high ground W of the Derwent. The date of its foundation is obscure, perhaps A.D. 55-65. Later, in the governorship of Cn. Julius Agricola (A.D. 78-85), a new fort site was adopted on low ground across the river. The only certain information, from the road pattern of this area, is that the site was an important junction of N-S and E-W routes.

Occupation is attested during the Hadrianic and Antonine periods and may well have been military in character. In the 3d or early 4th c. a circuit of defenses incorporating a stone wall was built, enclosing 2.4 ha; their purpose is not clear. Outside them to the N, Ryknield Street was lined with stone buildings, presumably in an extramural vicus. A group of pottery kilns 0.8 km to the E were active in the early 2d c., producing leadglazed vessels as well as more common wares. Finds from the area are in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.


W. Stukeley, Itinerarium Curiosum I (1776) 85; G. Webster, Derbyshire Archaeological Journal 81 (1961) 85ff; M. Todd, ibid. 87 (1967) 70ff.


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