The Roman town defences were built in two phases, both of which survive today.
In about AD 200, a rampart of earth and clay was constructed, though it featured masonry gatehouses. One of these gatehouses, built in stone and tile, still stands. It led north towards Dorchester on Thames. Several of these gatehouses survive. Perhaps the best preserved is the North Gate, guarding the road north to Dorchester on Thames. There is even a recess indicating the position where the gate would have hung.
On either side of this gate are the grassed-over remains and in about AD 270 these defences were strengthened with a massive stone wall.
While the defences offered general protection from enemies, they also allowed for control of all traffic entering and leaving the town. Major, dual carriageway gates were situated to the east and west of the town and single carriageway gates to the north and south.
There would have been a number of cemeteries situated outside the town. Only one, containing cremation burials, has been found through excavation.
The text and pictures on this page are derived from the 'Heritage Unlocked' series of guidebooks published in 2004. We intend to review, update and enhance the content in the near future as part of the Portico project, whose objective is to provide information on the history, significance, research background and sources for all English Heritage properties.