(Chesterton) Cambridgeshire, England.
On the S bank of the Nene, where it is crossed
by Ermine Street. The name (attested in the Antonine
, the Ravenna Cosmography
and on local potters' stamps) was given originally to an auxiliary fort
guarding the river crossing. The town of Durobrivae developed in the 2d c. from the civil settlement attached to
the fort. It was walled in the 3d c. and continued to
flourish as an agricultural and industrial center until at
least A.D. 450.
The 2 ha fort visible from the air is unexplored, but
may be dated by analogy to the mid 1st c. Little can now
be seen of the town, except its defensive circuit (enclosing an area of ca. 17.6 ha) and the embankment of Ermine Street, which is its main thoroughfare. Excavation
in 1957 showed that the defenses consisted of a stone
wall, backed by a clay rampart, at least three gateways,
and a ditch. Within the town aerial photographs reveal
an irregular street plan and close-packed rectangular
buildings, which are combined workshops and dwellings.
No excavation has taken place here since about 1840.
There are extensive industrial suburbs on three sides of
the town and across the river.
E. T. Artis, The Durobrivae of Antoninus
(1828); J. K. St. Joseph, JRS
59 (1969) 127.
J. P. WILD