Roman remains on Marlowe car park


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Canterbury (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TR 14854 57628, TR 14863 57502


Remains of the Roman civitas capital Durovernum Cantiacorum.

Reasons for Designation

Five types of town are known to have existed in Roman Britain: coloniae, municipia, civitas capitals, Roman provincial capitals and Roman small towns. The first four types can be classified as ‘public towns’ because each had an official status within the provincial administrative system. Civitas capitals are towns which functioned as the principal centres of the civitatae or regions of Roman Britain. They were official creations, generally established in the later first and early second centuries AD in newly pacified areas where the process of Romanisation had been successfully inaugurated. They were often established on the sites of earlier tribal centres or settlements and were populated largely by native Britons rather than Roman citizens. Civitas capitals functioned as economic, cultural and administrative centres for their respective regions. In terms of civic administration, a civitas capital would either have had magistrates and a council or it may have been administered directly for a time through officials known as "praefecti civitatis".

Defensive walls usually defined the areas of civitas capitals, these ranging in size from c.14ha to c.58ha. Within the walled area the main features included: the forum-basilica, other major public buildings, private houses, shops and workshops, piped water and sewage systems, a planned rectangular street grid and, in some cases, waterfront installations. Beyond the walls, an area of extra-mural settlement overspill can often be identified. This area can be extensive and may include such features as an amphitheatre, quarries, cemeteries, temples, rubbish dumps, commemorative monuments, potteries and roads.

Thirteen civitas capitals are known in England, showing a relatively even distribution throughout the so-called lowland zone of Roman Britain in the more southerly and easterly parts of the country. They were set up in the wake of the advancing army as it moved progressively north and westwards and it was in the south and east that Romanisation had the earliest and most successful impact.

Despite some disturbance and development in the past, the remains of Durovernum Cantiacorum survive well. Partial excavation has indicated well preserved remains of Roman buildings and streets. Only part of the site has been excavated and it retains potential for further archaeological investigation. Being a major Roman civic centre, the remains will provide information about the layout of the town, the nature of urban settlement, trade networks and the regional economy. The site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the development, occupation and history of Durovernum Cantiacorum.


See Details.


This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes buried remains of the civitas capital Durovernum Cantiacorum in two separate areas of protection. It is situated within the city walls of Canterbury and is located on either side (east and west) of Watling Street. Partial excavation has shown that several phases of development of the Roman civitas capital survive below-ground. The buried remains include the street and road surfaces from the planned street grid; the foundations of buildings and building plots, with associated domestic and commercial remains and deposits; and the water and sewage systems of the Roman town. The area also holds potential for remains of public buildings, which would have been integral to the settlement, surviving below-ground.

In 1952 and 1983 partial excavation was carried out to the south-west of Watling Street, in part of the area now occupied by Marlowe Avenue car park. The earliest deposits were traces of a timber building associated with metal working activity, dating to the mid first century AD. These levels were sealed by occupation deposits which were in turn sealed by a sequence of three street or road metallings, thought to be those of early Roman Watling Street. These metallings were eventually sealed by an opus signinum floor flanked by beam slots, of a mid to late second century building. A sequence of five metallings sealed the intermediate floors. A third timber building with beam slots of defining wall lines and with gravel floors was established south of the new street and occupied this position up to the fourth century AD. Several pits, dating from the Roman to the post-medieval period, were also uncovered.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
KE 325
Legacy System:


Kent HER TR15NW448, TR15NW461, TR15NW262. NMR TR15NW448, TR15NW461, TR15NW262. PastScape 465096, 465106, 464927,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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