Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mendip (District Authority)
Rodney Stoke
Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 45999 48984

Reasons for Designation

Roman settlements are known to have existed in the Somerset Levels from the first century AD and some continued in use until the fourth century AD. Few sites have been excavated and many have only been identified through the recovery of Roman material such as pottery or coins found during irrigation work. The recorded settlements are mainly confined to the valleys of the Rivers Brue and Axe although some are sited along the coastline. In the upper Axe valley many of the Romano-British settlements appear to be associated with flood defences. These settlements are also linked by an irrigation system suggesting that the sites formed part of a wider network, possibly planned as such to reduce the risk of flooding over a wide area. In some cases the presence of large-scale drainage works together with finds of quern-stones suggest that the land may have been drained to allow agricultural activity. Elsewhere, where there is no evidence for similar drainage schemes, settlements are likely to have been concerned largely with the exploitation of marine resources. Those settlements investigated by partial excavation or recorded through survey or aerial photography, generally cover an area of c.15 ha, although some are much larger. The Romano-British settlement at Stoke Moor is a good example of this type of settlement, surviving in the form of low earthworks and buried remains covering an area of 18.5 ha. Partial excavation of the site in 1925 has demonstrated the survival of archaeological remains relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a Romano-British settlement on Stoke Moor, situated on low-lying ground in the Axe Valley in the area of the Somerset Levels. A series of low earthworks as well as features visible only on aerial photographs represent the known extent of the settlement which covers an area of 18.5 ha. The settlement was unenclosed and developed alongside a former channel of the River Axe; this old river channel remains visible as an earthwork to the west of the settlement.

An archaeological survey conducted in 1985 identified that the settlement included a series of buildings surrounded by rectilinear enclosures, while partial excavation during 1925 revealed the presence of paved roadways and pitched courtyards in the central area of the settlement. There is, in addition, a series of linear features which are likely to relate to the drainage of the site; some of the larger examples in the south-eastern area of the settlement may represent flood defences.

A Roman date for the site is confirmed by the abundance of Roman finds within the monument. These include two Romano-British urns discovered during 1925 in the central area of the settlement. One of the urns contained a hoard of forty-three Roman coins ranging in date from AD 138 to AD 296. Further pottery dating from the second century AD has also been recovered, including a stamped samian base dated to AD 150-180, black burnished ware and grey ware. Additional finds include a quern fragment, a bronze angular brooch and a fragment of a bronze fibula.

Environmental evidence from the area suggests that salt-marsh conditions prevailed in this area during the Roman period contradicting earlier theories that the area would have been submerged. One reason for the site`s existence was in order to exploit the natural resources of the area.

Excluded from the scheduling are the surfaces of the metalled roads which traverse the monument from east to west and north to south, the Stoke Moor pumping station, the main Culvert Drove irrigation ditch and all fence posts, but the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
McDonnell, R, 'Proc of Som Nat Hist Arch Soc' in The Upper Axe Valley, (1979), 81
McDonnell, R, 'Proc of Som Nat Hist Arch Soc' in The Upper Axe Valley, (1979), 79
Description of finds made in 1925,
Description of other associated finds,
Description of samian and pottery,
Description of urns found in 1925,
Mention of survey by Dennison,


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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