Archaeology around Rochester Bridge: Roman jar

How much do you consider the history beneath your feet?

The origins of modern-day Rochester date to the construction of a bridge over the Medway soon after the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD.

The bridge crossed the river on the line of Watling Street, the main Roman road running from London to Richborough and Dover on the Kent coast.

In its wake came a settlement the Romans called Durobrivae, which evolved into what we now know as Rochester.

Nowadays, there is little that is obviously visible from this period, although in places parts of the Roman walls can still be seen.

Instead, most of what remains is under our feet including a remarkably well-preserved section of Roman Watling Street under a shop on the High Street that was discovered by chance in 2016.

Equally fortuitous was the unearthing of a black burnished jar with a light lattice pattern dating to around 150 AD.

It was discovered, along with other artefacts, during work to lay a gas mains pipe in 1968, having for centuries lain hidden near Rochester Bridge, 11 feet below the current road level.

If you would like to view the jar, it is on display alongside other historical items in the Bridge Chamber until June 2023, for opening times visit the Forthcoming Events page.

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