Tripontium

From Academic Kids

Tripontium was a town in Roman Britain. It is situated on the Warwickshire/Leicestershire border – roughly 4 miles (6km) north-east of Rugby in Warwickshire and 4 miles south of Lutterworth in Leicestershire – on the Roman road later called Watling Street and today known as the A5.

Tripontium was initially a military frontier post, established soon after the Roman invasion of Britain around AD 50. It later developed into a civilian town which was inhabited for around 400 years before being abandoned in the late fourth century when the Romans left Britain.

The name "Tripontium" means "place of the three bridges", in reference to nearby bridges over the River Avon and two of its tributaries.

Excavations

The exact position of Tripontium remained a mystery for centuries, but it was located by the antiquarian Matthew Bloxam in 1836. Excavation works at the site were begun in 1961 by the Rugby Archaeological Society and have continued ever since.

It was initially thought that Tripontium was a small wayside settlement of little importance; however, excavations of the site have revealed that it was an important Romano-British town, with large public bath houses, an extensive administrative building and a mansio (hotel) building. Numerous pieces of pottery, Roman coins, and other remains have been found.

Unfortunately some of the area of the town has been destroyed by modern gravel extraction and part of the site is presently unavailable for excavation. Nevertheless, it seems highly likely that more buildings, such as the remains of a temple or a forum, remain to be found at the site. The excavation of Tripontium has been the largest of its type to be carried out by an amateur archaeological society.

Tripontium was probably the most important Roman settlement in the area. The town is located some 8 miles south of Venonae (High Cross): the point at which Watling Street crossed the Fosse Way. The large size of the bath houses and mansio building have led historians to conclude that Tripontium is likely to have been an important stopping-place for travellers, both military and civilian. It was probably also an administrative centre for the surrounding area.

It is believed that at least one Roman emperor visited Tripontium, as the town is listed in the Antonine Itineraries, a third century document which recorded the journeys taken by the Emperors.

The site is not presently open to the public but many of the finds from the excavations are on display at the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum.

Further reading

Tripontium, by Jack Lucas FSA (1997) ISBN 0953126501

External Link

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