Lanchester is a village whose name reflects its Roman past, some of the remains of which can be found incorporated into the church, the village and the surrounding area.
The known Roman features in the vicinity of the village include a Roman fort with its associated civilian settlement, a dam and system of aqueducts supplying the fort, the main north south Roman road and a Roman cemetery.
The Friends of Longovicium are a group within the Lanchester Partnership who are attempting to find out more about these Roman remains and any other features such as roads that the Romans may have built in the area.
To this end the Friends, in conjunction with professional archaeologists who provided expert training and assistance, have recently carried out geophysical surveys, which have indicated the extent and features of the civilian settlement adjacent to the fort.
The largest of these surveys was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and by Durham County Council. It was carried out with the help of volunteers from Lanchester and further afield, and resulted in a publication in 2011 about the civilian settlement and its inhabitants entitled “A Roman Town at Lanchester”. A sister publication “Longovicium: Lanchester’s Roman Fort” was produced in 2007 outlining the fort’s features and history. (Copies of these booklets can be picked up free of charge from the Friends.)
GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY WORK UNDERWAY
The continuing aim of the Friends of Longovicium is to encourage interest in and increase understanding of Lanchester’s Roman History, giving people in the local community opportunities to participate in the research, protection and promotion of our heritage.
To further this aim, the Friends plan to: -
• Continue to trace and catalogue Roman objects found in the past at Lanchester.
• Canvass local people for their memories of the fort.
• Continue to look for and record antiquarian descriptions of the Roman remains over the last three centuries.
• Continue to give talks and displays about our findings to local schools and other interested groups.
• Carry out fieldwalking near the fort in conjunction with Durham University.
• Attempt to monitor the condition of the surviving remains of the fort, defences, civilian settlement, cemetery, dam and aqueduct which are on the ‘Heritage at Risk Register’.
• Try to identify Roman stones which come to light when buildings are altered or demolished, and update our survey of the various types, locations and purposes of their re-use.
• Identify which other areas near the fort are appropriate for further geophysical surveys. Then carry out the work if funding, licences and professional support can be secured.
• Investigate the two depressions in the ground found in our latest survey near the south-west corner of the fort.
FRIENDS DISCUSS LONGOVICIUM AND THE ROMANS
WITH LOCAL SCHOOL CHILDREN