Roman Britain’s fourth largest settlement
The earliest element of the site was a fort established between about AD 57 and AD 85. The area was picked for its strategic location on the Roman road Watling Street as it heads into Wales. It is also near a major crossing of the river Severn.
The fort attracted civilian settlement and the town was established by about AD 90.
Urban life carried on at Wroxeter for roughly 500 years, though there were many radical changes after the end of Roman rule.
But by the 7th century, when the Anglo-Saxons had taken control of the area, the city at Wroxeter had run its course. The monumental Roman buildings were then used as quarries for the building of local churches and a new urban centre for the region was established at Shrewsbury.
The collection also gives us a picture of the religious lives of the population. These plaster eyes are votive objects (offered to fulfil a vow), made of pieces of fallen wall plaster. Over 100 of these have been found at Wroxeter.
They were offerings to a local god, asking for their intervention, and were probably made by people with eye complaints. There may have been a spring with healing properties in the area.
A small number of human burials have been excavated at Wroxeter but most people were buried outside the town’s defences in accordance with Roman practice.
Other organic evidence of the residents occasionally survives in the form of coprolites – fossilised faeces. These can tell us about what was eaten at Wroxeter, the health of the population, and whether the residents suffered from intestinal parasites.
Contributors: Cameron Moffett, Ian Leins, Rose Arkle