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DUROBRIVAE (Chesterton) Cambridgeshire, England.

On the S bank of the Nene, where it is crossed by Ermine Street. The name (attested in the Antonine Itinerary, 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.


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