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CLAUSENTUM (Bitterne) Hampshire, England.

The Roman site lies on a promontory surrounded on three sides by the river Itchen on the edge of Southampton Water. Occupation began soon after the Claudian invasion in A.D. 43 and continued until the 5th c. or later. Initially the site may have been occupied by a fort of the invasion period. From the mid 1st until the late 4th c. timber and masonry buildings spread over the site, but soon after A.D. 367 an area at the tip of the promontory was enclosed by a masonry wall ca. 2.7m thick which followed the coastline on three sides and cut across the neck of land on the E. Earlier accounts record the presence of bastions on this E wall. It is possible that a garrison was moved to Clausentum from Portchester under the reorganization carried out by Count Theodosius. The promontory was further defended by an earthwork of late or post-Roman date.

Archaeological discoveries have been made sporadically over the last 200 years. The collection, now housed in the Gods House Tower Museum, Southampton, includes several inscriptions. The site is now largely covered by modern houses, but a small section of wall can be seen on the N side with part of an adjacent bath building.


D. M. Waterman, “Excavations at Clausentum, 1937-8,” AntJ 27 (1947) 151-71; id., “A Group of Claudian Pottery from Clausentum,” Proc. Hampshire Field Club and Arch. Soc. 17 (1952) 253-63; M. A. Cotton & P. W. Gathercole, Excavations at Clausentum, Southampton, 1951-1954 (1958).


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