previous next

AD PONTEM (Thorpe) Nottinghamshire, England.

On the Fosse Way 30.5 km SW of Lindum and mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary (477.7). A fortlet, probably less than 1 ha in area was established soon after A.D. 43 on a native site near to where the Fosse Way ran close to the river Trent. The road then probably lay farther W than the line it followed later. A polygonal annex on the NE side of the fort was several times larger. The fort and annex seem to have been abandoned early in the Flavian period, but in the following years a civilian settlement grew up along the road, the line of which was moved E. Later in the 2d c. part of this settlement was enclosed by a single ditch, without preventing growth outside it. The ditch remained functional until well into the 3d c., but probably early in the 4th c. new fortifications were erected, enclosing a different area. A freestanding stone wall, ca. 2 m thick, was built, with two ditches in front of it. Probably about the middle of the 4th c. the double-ditch system was replaced by a single wide ditch and it is possible that external bastions were added to the wall, although none have yet been found.

Little is known of the internal buildings. A large rectangular structure just inside the NE gate shows clearly in aerial photographs. Partial excavations showed that it dated to the 4th c. Its solid construction distinguishes it from other buildings in the area, and it may have had an administrative function (mutatio?). Other buildings, probably shops, line the Fosse Way. A road branching off the Fosse Way to the SE also shows in aerial photographs and may have been matched by one going in the opposite direction to cross the river Trent. A small, isolated, squarish building, not far from the postulated SE gate, might be interpreted as a temple. Some continuity of settlement is suggested by sherds of Anglo-Saxon pottery found here.

Early excavations were mostly on a small scale, but aerial photography led to excavations in 1963 and 1965, which demonstrated the sequence described above. Nothing is now visible above the surface. Some earlier finds, including a rough stone relief of a Celtic god and goddess, possibly Sucellus and Nantosvelta, are in Nottingham University Museum; the remainder are in Newark Museum.


J. S. Wacher, JRS 54 (1964) 159-60PI; 56 (1966) 203-4P; J. K. St. Joseph, ibid. 43 (1953) 91; 48 (1958) 98I; id., in J. S. Wacher, ed., Civitas Capitals of Roman Britain (1966) 28PI; J.M.C. Toynbee, Art in Roman Britain (1962) 156, no. 79I; R. R. Inskeep, Trans. Thoroton Soc. 69 (1966) 19-39PI.


hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: