Roman fort, dating probably to the 1st century, and surviving as buried archaeological deposits.
Reasons for Designation
The Roman fort, south of Littleborough Lane at Marton is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: despite being reduced by ploughing, the site survives in the form of buried archaeological deposits;
* Potential: it will retain significant information relating to the date of construction and the nature of occupation;
* Rarity/period: it will add considerably to our understanding of the military and strategic use of the East Midlands during the Roman period;
* Group value: strong historical and proximal group value with the scheduled Roman town of Segelocum on the west bank of the River Trent;
* Documentary: it is well documented by aerial photography and geophysical survey.
The movement of the Roman military northwards into Lincolnshire is not fully understood since there is a lack of contemporary sources detailing the events of the Roman occupation of this area. The local tribal grouping was the Corieltauvi and it is not known whether they surrendered to Rome soon after the invasion started in AD 43 or fought the invasion. While sources concentrate on the fighting further south against the Catuvellauni and their allies, the archaeological record has produced no certain evidence either way. The push northwards after the initial invasion by the Romans aimed to secure the Trent Valley and the Humber estuary and was almost certainly spearheaded by the Ninth Legion which was based at Lincoln with its attached auxilia. The early distribution of Roman military forces in the East Midlands is in a series of forts placed at strategic points and dispositions served to control a broad swath of territory along the line of the Trent and up to the Humber estuary.
Roman forts served as permanent bases for the auxiliary troops of the Roman Army and varied in size according to the number and type of troops that they were built to accommodate. The majority were constructed between the mid-first and mid-second centuries AD. The fort at Marton is situated on the east side of the River Trent and was first identified on aerial photographs in 1974, although it is possible that an earthwork noted in this location by the antiquarian William Stukeley in 1776 may be the fort. It lies 130m south of the 1st century west-east road, referred to as Till Bridge Lane, and probably dates to the same period. The road was a branch of Ermine Street which ran from Lincoln to Doncaster, crossing the River Trent via a ford that took the form of a raised stone-paved causeway which was removed in 1820 when the river was cleared for navigation. Due to its relatively small size, it may be an auxiliary fort built to defend and/or control the hinterland along the nearby Roman road and the crossing of the River Trent; the first crossing point of the river south of its outfall into the Humber.
A geophysical survey of the fort and its environs was carried out in 1995-96 (Worrell, see Sources), but no excavation has taken place. The fort was designated a scheduled monument in 1980.
The buried remains of a small Roman roadside settlement has been identified through aerial photographs and geophysical survey to the west of Marton and north of the fort, and field walking produced a variety of finds including 1st to 4th century pottery, tile, coins and items of jewellery. On the opposite (west) side of the river is the site of the small Roman town of Segelocum (a scheduled monument) which was established by the 2nd century BC.
The monument includes the buried remains of a Roman fort visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs which define three sides of the fort. It is situated on a low crest at the edge of a gentle slope, above the flood plain of the River Trent to the west.
No upstanding remains survive, but a series of cropmarks on aerial photographs indicate a sub-rectangular plan enclosure with rounded corners, defined by two parallel ditches between 2m and 3.5m across. Only the east side of the fort appears in its entirety, and this has a visible break in both the internal and external ditches which probably mark one of the fort’s gateways. Much of the north and south sides, each with a possible entrance across the ditches, are visible extending as far west as a field boundary which aligns with a gentle slope running east to west, but no cropmarks are evident beyond the field boundary and the full extent of the monument cannot, therefore, be established. There is no evidence of an associated bank or rampart on aerial photographs, and this may have been degraded by ploughing.
The known dimensions of the fort are 116m north to south and 83m west to east, covering an area of about 0.8ha. There is no clear evidence for internal features. No stone foundations were identified during the geophysical survey, although buildings within the fort may have been built of timber or the lack of evidence could be due to local geological conditions.
EXTENT OF SCHEDULING
The area of protection is based on current evidence and understanding arising from aerial photographs and a desk-based assessment of the monument undertaken in 2017. The boundary to the scheduled monument has, therefore, been amended to more closely follow the buried remains of the fort’s defences as depicted on aerial photographs to the north, east and south together with a 10m margin for the support and protection of the monument. To the west there is currently no evidence to indicate the presence of buried remains beyond the field boundary which runs north to south on this side of the fort and this feature defines the monument boundary on this side of the fort.