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MELANDRA CASTLE (“Ardotalia”) Derbyshire, England.

Auxiliary fort, probably to be identified as Ardotalia, near Glossop. The 2 ha site lies on the tip of a spur overlooking the Etherow river and is almost square; the fort faces N. Excavation early in this century revealed much of the plan, including the principia and several barracks. Historically the fort follows the pattern familiar in the area. After foundation in the Flavian period the timber and earth fort was rebuilt in stone in the Trajanic period. Throughout its life three widely spaced ditches guarded the less protected S side.

Further excavation of the area of the vicus in 1966-69 defined the line of the road to the S and showed that the whole vicus area had been protected by a ditch and rampart cutting off the whole N end of the spur on which the fort stands. Originally the exit of the road to the S was guarded by an inturned clavicula. Beside the road within the enclosure lay a complex series of timber buildings of Flavian and later date, while farther S cremation burials mark the site of a cemetery. Another road led round the head of a small gully towards an imposing timber building 50 m long. A plausible parallel has been seen in the mansio at Benwell. The building was deliberately demolished rather than destroyed ca. A.D. 140, and the same thing may have happened in the fort proper. The site may thus have been abandoned with the Antonine reconquest of lowland Scotland.


G.D.B. Jones, “The Romans in the North-West,” Northern History 3 (1968)MI; P. V. Webster, “Excavations at Melandra Castle,” Derbyshire Archaeological Journal (1971)M.


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