06 January 2010

Calleva Atrebatum

The Roman History Reading Group's first read for 2010 is Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth, part of which is set in Calleva Atrebatum. As it's quite near where my parents live, I set out one cold and frosty morning to have a look at what remains of Calleva Atrebatum today. The remains are near the village of Silchester, not far from Reading.

Calleva Atrebatum means something like "the Atrebates' town in the woods" (not that different from Silchester!). The Atrebates were a Celtic tribe living in this area, with links to a tribe of the same name living in Gaul. Although the town itself has disappeared, its walls are still standing. It took me about 2 hours to walk the circuit of 2.8 km, but that was with lots of stops for photographs. The shape is roughly speaking a diamond with the top point at the North.

The sign in the carpark.

Information panel in the carpark.

Pretty frost covered trees between the carpark and the site.

Iron age bank and ditch between the carpark and the site.

Information panel when you get to the walls on the NW side of the site.

View across where the town was inside the walls.

View from the walls down into the ditch.

Overgrown NW wall.

View of the NW wall and outer ditch from inside rampart.

Close-up of the wall, showing construction of material

Information panel at North Gate.

The North Gate as it is now.

Close-up showing height and material

North East wall

Information panel for the amphitheatre

Niches in the amphitheatre, maybe for shrines

The amphitheatere

St. Mary's church inside where the East Gate probably was

Information panel on the SE wall

The SE wall from outside

Information panel at the South Gate

The South Gate

The BBC has a page about Silchester, written by Michael Fulford of the University of Reading, which maintains a website about Silchester and holds regular digs there which are open to public participation. The Museum of Reading's website has information about objects found at Silchester, including the eagle which inspired Rosemary Sutcliff.

All photos on this page are my own. Please link to this blog entry if you use them.


info@Lindsay-Powell.com said...

The most important finds from Calleva are displayed at the excellent Reading Museum in Reading, which is well worth a visit. Go to
(In the Normal/Mediaeval Gallery, there is also an exact copy of the Bayeux Tapestry).

RWMG said...

Yes, I was hoping to go there, but unforunately, the weather intervened, so I just linked to their Silchester collection in my article.

Whispering Walls said...


RWMG said...