Challenging Britannia – the autumn 2018 CBA North West Conference

Kingsley Field48

A complete Roman Samian bowl excavated at Nantwich in 2003 through developer-funded fieldwork

This year’s CBA North West Autumn Conference is on the theme of the interaction between Roman and native in the North West, under the banner of ‘Challenging Britannia’. There will be a variety of speakers looking at current digs and surveys on Roman forts and settlements in North West England. Topics will include the Chester amphitheatre, researching Roman roads, a newly discovered Roman fort in Lancashire, the excavations at Quay Meadow in Lancaster and the current research into Roman Ribchester.

The work on the revision of the North West Regional Research Framework has shown that there has been a steady stream of fieldwork on the Roman occupation of North West England since 2006. In that time there have been several significant new discoveries in the Roman archaeology of the region. New rural settlements have been located in Salford and northern Cheshire; evidence for the immediate pre-Roman activity of well known fort sites at Chester and Manchester has been uncovered for the first time. Roman sites at Nantwich and Wigan have been defined, whilst further work at the forts and settlements of Castleshaw, Lancaster, Manchester, and Ribchester is adding significantly to our understanding of these sites.


Community excavations by the Friends of the Roman Castleshaw Forts

New techniques such as LIDAR is revolutionising our understanding of the surviving remains of Roman roads and the engineering needed to construct them in several parts of the region, whilst palaeo-environmental work continues to add to our picture of how the Roman countryside was exploited. Finally, the Portable Antiquities Scheme continues to produce evidence for localised manufacture of broaches from this period (focussed on the Wirral), as well as the more predictable examples of coin hoards.

There has also been several major publications on earlier fieldwork, including the Chester amphitheatre, the Roman copper mines at Alderley Edge, the coastal emporium of Meols on the Wirral, and the excavation of the Roman salt making sites of Middlewich and Nantwich.

This day will bring much of this new material together for the first time and attempt to tease out some of the themes linking this evidence, from the reaction of the native Iron Age population to the advent of Roman arms, to the end of Roman occupation. It will also serve to showcase academic, museum, professional, and volunteer research across the region, demonstrating (I hope) that such work is not done in isolation.

The venue is the Ribchester Village Hall on Saturday 3rd November 2018 and there will be a chance in the afternoon to tour the Roman fort site in the village. Online booking can be found here:



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