Information about the place MILDENHALL (Village) ENGLAND - GTP - Greek Travel Pages
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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Cunetio

Cunetio (Mildenhall) Wiltshire, England.
Mildenhall village, in the parish of that name, lies ca. 2.4 km E of Marlborough, on the river Kennet. What is called the Black Field, within the area described as the site of the Roman settlement of Cunetio, is on the S side of the river, and 0.4 km due E of Mildenhall church. The field is also the meeting point for two Roman roads running respectively E-W and N-S.
  Recent air photography has disclosed the existence within Black Field of a walled township of Romano-British date, some 8 ha in extent, with at least two phases of construction. The first phase consists of a double-ditched earthwork with rounded corners, whose E, W, and S sides are visible in the photographs, measuring some 261 m E-W x 210 m. The S ditches are interrupted, probably for a small gateway. The second and later phase comprises a massive stone wall with defensive bastions spaced at regular intervals along its E and S sides. Roughly midway along the S wall crop markings disclosed a gateway with drum-ended flanking towers.
  Investigations since 1957 have cut sections across the township wall on its four sides. Considerable robbing of the wall, doubtless for building stone, had taken place in antiquity, but enough of the foundation remained to show that the wall had been built of heavy flint rubble embedded in lime mortar, and its thickness at the base varied between 5.55 and 4.8 m. Coin finds from mdividual cuttings were imprecise, but suggest a date of A.D. 280-350 for the wall construction.
  One of the stone defensive bastions observed from the air to project beyond the S wall face was also investigated. The bastion footings, standing two courses high, were formed first by heavy squared blocks of Lower Chalk laid on to the rubble platform, though not, it appears, mortared together. Sufficient of this lower course remained to show quite clearly that it was semi-octagonal in plan. Evidence clearly showed that the bastion had been bonded into the wall face, proving (also by the similarity of both wall and bastion construction) that the masonry defenses of Cunetio were of a single date. Recent research on the defenses of Romano-British townships elsewhere seems to indicate a sweeping reorganization about the middle of the 4th c. A.D., one particular feature being either the addition of projecting bastions to existing walls, or their incorporation within entirely new stone defenses. In the light of present knowledge at Cunetio, the surrounding stone wall with defensive bastions is to be allocated to the 4th c. phase of the Roman occupation.
  The latest excavation at the site proved the existence of a hitherto unknown W gateway ca. 90 m S of the NW corner of the town. A small coin hoard, dated to ca. A.D. 360, was recovered immediately above the gateway floor, at its W end. Next to the gateway, and beneath the line of the W wall, a well was excavated. The presence of early figured Samian and native wares in the well implies an early occupation of the site, within the 1st c. A.D., not inconceivably related to the Roman military advance in SW England during the initial stages of the Roman conquest. It is perhaps noteworthy that the plan of the early ditched defenses conforms precisely to the so-called playing card plan of a Roman military fortification, although it must be emphasized that these belong to a civil phase of the occupation of Cunetio.

F.K. Annable, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Feb 2006 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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