Silchester Roman Town - History and Facts | History Hit

Silchester Roman Town

Basingstoke and Deane, England, United Kingdom

Silchester Roman Town flourished from the mid-first century AD and was eventually abandoned.

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About Silchester Roman Town

Silchester Roman Town is home to the remains of Calleva Atrebatum, a town which flourished under the Romans in the mid-first century AD. Located in Hampshire, England, Silchester Roman Town represents some of the best-preserved Roman town defences in England, with the complete circuit of the Roman walls still standing.

History of Silchester Roman Town

Silchester was originally the centre of the Iron Age kingdom of the Atrebates tribe from the late 1st century BC. Flourishing until the early Anglo-Saxon period, Calleva Atrebatum itself became a busy town crammed with shops, homes, and several public amenities including a forum basilica, temples, public baths, and an amphitheatre.

It is unclear as to when and why exactly Silchester Roman Town was abandoned. Estimates place its decline somewhere between 550 and 650 AD, much after the erection of the town walls in the third century and the end of Roman rule in the fifth century. Much has been made of the fact that no medieval settlement took its place.

Substantial excavation of the site took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and today remains one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Britain and is one of the few that has been continuously occupied from the Iron Age.

Silchester Roman Town Today

Today, visitors to Silchester Roman Town can see its remaining ruins, those a mile and half walk of the walls and the amphitheatre. There is an audio guide to download from the English Heritage website. During six weeks of the summer, the main excavation site, run by Reading University, is also open.

Getting to Silchester Roman Town

From the centre of Hampshire, Silchester Roman Town is reachable in around 45 minutes via the M3 road. The National Express bus followed by a bus to the stop ‘Cavella Arms’, after which the site is an 18 minute walk, is another option.

There is a charged car park at Silchester Roman Town in Wall Lane, RG7 2HP, managed by Hampshire County Council. The walls are a few minutes’ walk from the car park and the amphitheatre a 10-minute walk.