The Ebchester Project
Ebchester is a small village on the east bank of the River Derwent, just to the north of Consett in County Durham.
In the early 18th century, the Roman Fort at Ebchester was still clearly visible, with much of the village at that time located within the fort
defences. Historians of the time tell of hewn stone walls with a vast Roman suburb (town) to the east, south and west.
Much of the work done throughout the 19th and 20th centuries excavating the Roman site
concentrated purely on the fort, usually as a result of interventions required by the Ministry of Works.
So what happened to the ‘considerable’ Roman town?
The Ebchester Project aims to locate, map and where possible investigate the remains of the Roman town, with the aid of the local community.
Apart from limited archaeological evaluation in 2006 and 2016, very little work has been done on the town itself, but clues lie in texts, old photographs, maps and technology such as LIDAR as to the extent of the site. In 1957, during works at Summerson’s Hole (southwest Ebchester) a possible Roman mosaic paved area was uncovered but subsequently destroyed… in the late 19th century, a stone aquaduct was observed running from the southern corner of the fort, which at the time was attributed to
feeding the fort and also a bath-house. In 1680, residents of the town looked for treasure in a ruin ‘on the hillside’ but abandoned their dig when it was found ‘just’ to be an old pewter works.
With the help of local residents and businesses we can start to map the Roman town, as well as link the Roman Fort at Ebchester (named as Vindomora in Roman documentation) with its civilian town to a more local Romano-British network, with initial research already suggesting a road leading from the fort/town to either Newcastle or Washingwells to the northeast, as well as a road heading south, traced using LIDAR to Shotley Bridge.