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Roman & Medieval Carlisle, Northern Lanes Excavations 1978-82

Volume One: The Roman Period

Christine Howard-Davis, John M. Zant


In the mid-1970s, Carlisle City Council finalised proposals for the redevelopment of the Lanes, a densely built-up area in the north-east corner of the city’s historic core, which, at the time, was crossed by 19 narrow lanes or vennels. These were to be swept away, and the area cleared, for the construction of the Lanes shopping centre. Previous archaeological work had confirmed the existence of complex Roman and medieval deposits in this part of the city, most of which would be destroyed by the new development.

Consequently, a programme of archaeological and historical investigation, funded by Carlisle City Council, the Department of the Environment (now Historic England), the Manpower Services Commission, the Marc Fitch Fund and the Society of Antiquaries of London, was undertaken between 1978 and 1982. Historic England also provided substantial funding for post-excavation analysis and publication of the project’s results. To this day, the Lanes retains its position as one of the largest and most significant urban archaeological projects ever undertaken in northern England.

For post-excavation purposes, the project was split into two parts, the northern and southern Lanes, the results of the latter being published in 2000. The current volume presents the evidence for Roman occupation within the northern Lanes, from the construction of a probable military camp and a series of large timber buildings, possibly mansiones, in the early Roman period, to the expansion of civilian settlement across this area during the mid-late second century AD, which saw the emergence of a distinct pattern of building plots. Good preservation of waterlogged organic materials was a feature of the earlier levels, which yielded a wealth of environmental information and many artefacts of wood and leather.

The post-Roman evidence from the northern Lanes will be presented in a companion volume.


Lancaster Imprints



Publication Date:

2019 December


Paperback; 297 x 210mm




Colour photographs throughout

Available on back-order