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ANCASTER (“Causennae”) Lincolnshire, England.

The Roman settlement at Ancaster lies 29 km S of Lincoln on Ermine Street. The place has long been identified as the Causennae of the Antonine Itinerary, but if the Itinerary distances are accepted Causennae should lie S of Ancaster. The settlement lies at the junction of two important routes: the N-S ridge followed by Ermine Street, and an E-W route through the Ancaster Gap. An Iron Age settlement occupied the site at the time of the Roman conquest.

The first Roman occupation of Ancaster took the form of a fort, built not long after A.D. 43 and held until ca. A.D. 70-80. Only a section of the defenses has so far been recovered. After the withdrawal of the army unit a civilian vicus developed, which received its own defenses, probably in the later 3d c. These consisted of a stone wall 2.1 in wide, an earth rampart behind it, and, in the final form, two broad ditches outside (3.6 ha). Projecting towers were built at the angles, probably in the 4th c. Knowledge of the interior is limited. A few pieces of religious sculpture, including a relief of the Matres, suggest a temple or temples. Agricultural buildings are known outside the walls, and an early Anglo-Saxon cemetery immediately outside the S defenses suggests that occupation continued at least into the 5th c.


E. Trollope, “Ancaster, the Roman Causennae,” ArchJ 17 (1870) 1ff; C.F.C. Hawkes, “Roman Ancaster, Horncastle and Caistor,” ArchJ 103 (1946) 17ff.


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