Dorset > Dorchester > Durnovaria
Home · Dorset A-Z · Links · Extras

Roman Dorchester (Durnovaria), the capital town of the Durotriges covered an area of between 70 and 80 acres. This now lies buried beneath the modern town but a section of Roman wall remains at Top o' Town and the line of defences can be followed. Other important surviving monuments are the amphitheatre known now as Maumbury Rings just outside the South Gate, and the aqueduct, which brought water into the town from a dammed lake at Littlewood Farm near Frampton, some 15km to the north-west. Also a 4th century AD building was excavated in 1936-9 on the north side of the Roman town.

Maumbury Rings Town House Roman Wall
looking south mosaic flooring Roman Wall in Dorchester

Roman Weymouth
In Weymouth there was evidence of Roman occupation, predominately the Roman temple upon Jordan Hill which overlooks Weymouth Bay and it is said that the ships of the Roman Empire travelled all the way to Radipole where the river Wey widens and forms Radipole Lake. A Roman villa has been found at Preston and recently (2004) one has been discovered on the Isle of Portland.

Pre-Roman Dorchester
Prior to the Roman conquest of Maiden Castle in 43AD, the area around Dorchester was home to the Durotriges tribe. Surviving evidence from this period include the hillfort and many burial mounds and cemetaries upon the South Dorset Ridgeway.

Maiden Castle
Maiden Castle

Pictures of Maumbury Rings and the Roman Town House are shown by kind permission of
English Heritage
English Heritage