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Roman oil lamp

Northern Outpost

Thursday 16th August 2001, Northumbria

Brigantium  archaeological visitor centreFOR 200 YEARS, between AD 138 and AD 340, Bremenium, now known as High Rochester, was the most northerly outpost in the entire Roman Empire. We've followed the straight course of the original Roman road along the modern A68 north frominside the Iron Age roundhouse Corbridge so we break our journey here and take the opportunity to visit the fort after exploring the Brigantium Archeological Centre at Rochester Village nearby. These two sketches show the centre's reconstructed Iron Age roundhouse.

Bremenium Roman fort From the fort's west gate there's a sweeping view across the broad valley of the River Rede towards open moorland on the hilltops beyond. The walls of the two gatehouse towers still stand shoulder high and one of the carved blocks that supported the the west gatearch of the gate is still in place. A garrison of 500 men (later rising to 1000) were stationed here; auxiliaries recruited from France, northern Spain, Belgium and Yugoslavia. It's easy to imagine that so many of them stood right here and saw, more or less, the view we see today.

the view from the west gate
'When we bear in mind the bleak and desolate aspect of the country, even at the present day, the number of well carved altars, and other proofs of civilisation which the station has yielded is very remarkable.'

Reverend J Collingwood Bruce, director of the 1855 excavations at Bremenium. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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