Dorchester (Durnovaria Durotrigum) Town House – Quick Facts


Dorchester, Dorset MapWebsite


  • Romans established the town of Durnovaria, the administrative capital of the Durotriges tribe, in AD 70. The town included a forum, public baths, aqueduct, and amphitheatre.
  • Durnovaria’s Baths were built between AD 75-100.
  • Stone defensive walls built around Durnovaria in AD 300.
  • First phase of Roman Town House – three houses built in AD 300.
  • Phase 2 – converted the three houses into one large house in AD 350.
  • Phase 3 – added more rooms, including a stone kitchen and a room with underfloor hypocaust heating, sometime after AD 350.
  • Phase 4 – reduction and reuse of the house after the Romans left Britain, AD 400-500.

What Remains

  • Foundations of thirteen rooms.
  • Remains of mosaics in eight rooms, some very minimal but three are quite substantial. They date from Phase 2, around AD 350. Patterns include geometric designs and also a repeating rope-like pattern. One mosaic has a unique interlacing circle pattern, not known in any other mosaic in Britain.
  • Also on site are a Roman sarcophagus, markers denoting where child burials were found, and a well.

Around Dorchester

  • Earthwork remains of the amphitheatre, now called the Maumbury Rings.
  • A tree-lined walk follows the path of the Roman town wall.
  • Remains of the Roman wall in Albert Road.
  • A fountain on Princes Street marks where the aqueduct ended. Site of aqueduct can be seen two miles away at the Poundbury Hillfort Site.
  • A reused gravestone of a Roman citizen called Carinus can be seen inside St. George’s Church in Fordington.