Under the bus station in the city of Exeter in the south-west of England, the remains of Roman fortifications were found, according to a press release from the Exeter City Council. They were discovered near the ruins of a Roman fort found in the 1970s. According to archaeologists, it can be either the remains of another fort, or part of the fortifications already known.
In the year 43 AD, the Romans landed in Britain. In the invasion participated II Augustus legion under the command of the future emperor Vespasian, and, possibly, several other units. For several years, the Romans established control over the south-west of the island, including over the possessions of the Dumnonia tribe, on whose lands the legion settled.
In 55, a fortress was built for the military, and a settlement arose around it, which was called Iska Dumnoniiorum (modern Exeter). In 75, the legion was transferred to the north, but the settlement remained. It was rebuilt several times: in particular, most of the regimental baths were dismantled, and a forum and a basilica were built in their place. To the south-west of the old baths, new, smaller ones were built.
In the II century, Roman fortifications broke and built new ones surrounding a large territory. Iska gradually became a regional center and, apparently, achieved the greatest prosperity in the first half of the 4th century. After the Romans left Britain, the city became the capital of the British kingdom of Dumnonia, which existed until the beginning of the X century.
In the 1960s, on the outskirts of Exeter, the remains of Roman military fortifications were found, and in the early 1970s, the ruins of the barracks, in which the legionnaires apparently lived. Excavations later began near the cathedral, as a result of which archaeologists found the ruins of Roman baths.
The new find was the moats built by the Romans, which archaeologists found at the site of the former bus station during security work before the construction of a new bus station and entertainment center. At first, the researchers found one ditch, then two more large ditches parallel to each other. According to experts, they were either part of the fortifications of a previously unknown fort, in which part of the August II Legion was quartered, or surrounded a fortified vault.
In addition to the moats, archaeologists found Roman coins and the remains of ceramic dishes: rather rough local, as well as elegant and expensive, which the rich brought from Gaul. What was inside the fortifications is still unknown.
Earlier, archaeologists found out how the Romans supplied garrisons stationed in Britain: they could number tens of thousands of people. To feed the military, there were not enough animals that were raised nearby: they had to be exported from other areas of the island. For example, for the August II Legion, which was transferred from Iski Dumnoniiorum in the south-west of the island to the north, in southern Wales, animals were brought from the central, eastern and southern parts of the country.