Roman Lincolnshire Revealed

Research and discoveries from a corner of the Civitas Corieltavorum

Physical remains – rural Lincolnshire

This page explores the eclectic Roman remains that can be seen outside of the major settlement sites.

Riseholme barrow

Riseholme barrow
Riseholme barrow. Photograph by Dr Adam Daubney

Barrow burials in Britain are most commonly associated with prehistory, either Neolithic long barrows or Bronze Age round barrows. Roman barrows, although rare, do exist, and the example to be found at Riseholme is the most northerly example known in the country. The barrow is located on the University of Lincoln campus, north of Riseholme Hall and east of the line of Ermine Street (the modern A15).

Originally circular, the barrow is now rather oval in plan, but still survives to nearly 3m in height. Excavations in 1952 revealed the primary burial in the form of a cremation accompanied by ceramics and glass, dating to the late 1st Century AD. A secondary cremation in the mound was discovered in 1935 close to the mound’s surface, covered by a stone slab.

Revesby barrows

Revesby barrows
The two barrows at Revesby

The two circular barrows at Revesby, situated next to the A155 just to the east of the village, are impressive monuments and commonly believed to be Roman in date. Situated within a ditched enclosure of unknown date, the western barrow is 28m in diameter and just over 5m high and the eastern barrow 24m in diameter and 6.2m high.

A small excavation into the eastern barrow in 1892 found some pottery and animal bone (possibly from a dog). No burials in the mounds have yet been discovered, and other burials may exist between and around the two surviving barrows.

The Car Dyke

The Car Dyke is one of the least known but most intriguing of Lincolnshire’s Roman monuments. It is a man-made water channel, believed to have been constructed in the AD120s, and running for 85 miles along the western edge of the fens from the River Witham just east of Lincoln to Peterborough. It is the largest known Roman waterway in Britain, believed to have been around 15m wide and 2-4m deep when first constructed – a massive engineering feat.

car dyke map
Map of the route of the Car Dyke. Image reproduced from Simmons, B B and Cope-Faulkner, P. 2004. The Car Dyke: Past Work, Current State and Future Possibilities. Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series No 8. Fig 1

The purpose of the Car Dyke has been debated for many years. Most likely to have been for drainage of the fens, it is possible that it was also used for transportation. Although some sharp turns along its length make it difficult to imagine that the entire length was navigable, it was large enough to have been used as a means of transport along shorter sections.

The Car Dyke is visible at numerous points along its length, often still carrying water. You can read more about these sections on the Historic Environment Record and there is an attractive country walking route alongside part of the Car Dyke downloadable here.

car dyke
The Car Dyke at Branston Booths

Lenton church carving

Lenton church carving
Lenton church carving. Image from Frere, S. 1963. A Romano-British Relief from Keisby, Lincs. Antiquaries Journal Vol 43

Built into the east wall of the south aisle of Lenton church is a Roman stone carving depicting a male figure making an offering over an altar. The figure is unknown (is it a human making an offering or a deity receiving one?) but the general nature of the carving bears a strong resemblance to another from nearby Wilsford.  The carving was discovered at Keisby (a hamlet in Lenton parish) in the 1920s and subsequently built into the church fabric.




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