Silchester (Caleva Attrebatum) Town – Quick Facts

Where

Silchester, Hampshire MapWebsite & Reading University/Silchester

When

  • Site was centre of the Iron Age kingdom of the Attrebates from the first century BC.
  • Roman era town developed shortly after AD 43.
  • Public buildings included a forum, bath-house, temples, mansio, and an amphitheatre.
  • The amphitheatre dates from AD 50.
  • Calleva’s location was a major hub of four roads. One leading west from Caerwent through Gloucester and Cirencester to London, one northeast from Dorchester through Salisbury to London, one northwest from Chichester and Winchester, and one north to Dorchester on Thames.
  • Earthwork ramparts were built around the town in the late 2ndcentury.
  • Stone walls were built around the town in late 3rd century.
  • Town was roughly 40 hectares and set out in a street grid pattern.
  • After it was abandoned between the 5th and 7th centuries, Calleva was not rebuilt or reoccupied. This allowed archaeologists to examine the complete site and its development.

What Remains

  • Partial 3rdcentury stone town walls, rubbly and covered with moss and grass, at highest 3 metres.
  • Low 3rdcentury amphitheatre walls around the elliptical shaped centre. There are niches in the walls, possibly for shrines to Nemesis, the god of fate. The spectator seating was originally built up and now what remains is covered with trees and shrubs.
  • There is an active archaeological dig site in the town centre but it is not open to the public.
  • Town site is leased for agriculture but there is a path open to the public through the middle.