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Roman Urban Defences in the West

edited by John Maloney and Brian Hobley

CBA Research Report No 51 (1983)

ISBN 0 906780 23 3


Title page of report 51

Urban defences of the Roman period are amongst the most impressive monuments to have survived into modern times and, in some instances, they determined the extent of towns until well into the Middle Ages. Hence these circuits have been subject to study from an early date, but the standard of investigation and presentation of the results has varied considerably. Further ... assessments of urban defences have been of a rather piecemeal character. Since in recent years archaeological excavations have provided much more evidence, many researchers felt that a review devoted specifically to the topic-for the first time-was long overdue.

A conference on 'Roman urban defences in the north-west provinces' was held in London on 21-23 March 1980, jointly organized by the Museum of London and the Council for British Archaeology. Sixteen papers were given by speakers from Britain, Belgium, and Germany.

The seventeen papers published in this volume are divided into four sections: the Mediterranean and northern provinces, and Rome; Britain; military architecture and weapons; conclusion.


  • Title pages
  • Illustrations (p vi)
  • Contributors (p vii)
  • Introduction (p viii)
  • Acknowledgements (p viii)
  • Part I Mediterranean and northern provinces, and Rome
    • The origins and character of Roman urban defences in the west by Mark Hassall (pp 1-3)
    • Town defences in Roman Africa: a tentative historical survey by Charles Daniels (pp 5-19)
    • The Roman defences of Cologne-Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium by Hansgerd Hellenkemper (pp 20-28)
    • The town walls and defensive systems of Xanten-Colonia Ulpia Traiana by Gundolf Precht (pp 29-39)
    • Urban wall-circuits in Gallia Belgica in the Roman period by J Mertens (pp 40-57)
    • The Aurelianic wall of Rome and its analogues by Malcolm Todd (pp 58-67)
    • Late Roman urban defences in Europe by Stephen Johnson (pp 68-76)
  • Part II Britain
    • Roman urban defences: a review of research in Britain by Brian Hobley (pp 77-84)
    • The defensive sequence at Silchester by Michael Fulford (pp 85-89)
    • Coloniae in Britain by Michael J Jones (pp 90-95)
    • Recent work on London's defences by John Maloney (pp 96-117)
    • The function and organization of late Roman civil defences in Britain by Graham Webster (pp 118-120)
    • Imperial campaigns and 4th century defences in Britain by John Casey (pp 121-124)
  • Part III Military architecture
    • The construction of urban defences by R M Butler (pp 125-129)
    • The reuse of monumental masonry in late Roman defensive walls by T F C Blagg (pp 130-135)
    • Town walls and defensive weapons by D Baatz (pp 136-140)
  • Part IV Conclusion
    • Some thoughts on Roman urban defences in the west by J S Wacher (pp 141-144)
  • Index (pp 145-147)

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