Monument record MYO4785 - Site of Roman interval tower (SW5)


A series of six polygonal projecting stone interval towers as part of the early 4th century remodelling of the south-west defences. Excavated between 1972-5.


Grid reference SE 6006 5202 (point)
Map sheet SE65SW
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire
Civil Parish York, City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

NMR information:
SE60075202. A Roman interval tower (SW5 on the key plan) stood on the site now cleared for redevelopment on the corner at Museum Street and Lendal. Re-excavated in 1960.

There are no visible remains of the tower. (2)

Excavations by the York Archaeological Trust between 1972-5 on the site of interval tower SW5. Little stratification survived of Roman levels. However, C1st defences were a ditch and turf-revetted rampart, while tow post-pits probably indicated a 6-post timber interval tower and, with a similar tower discovered in 1956-7, provided the first direct evidence of the spacing of those early towers.

A replacement ditch further to the south-west may have accompanied the insertion of a stone wall into the rampart front, possibly early in the C2nd. A large stone building was built behind the tower and over the intervallum road in the late 3rd-early 4th century and the external ditch was redug, the curtain wall was rebuilt, and the massive polygonal-fronted masonry interval tower SW5 was incorporated as one of 6 similar towers along this side of the fort. It is the first to have been completely excavated. (3)

1 An inventory of the historical monuments in the City of York. Volume I: Eburacum: Roman York
2 copies. 1962 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, England 171
2 Field Investigators Comments F1 RW Emsley 05-Jun-1963
3 The archaeology of York
Most volumes held York Archaeological Trust 93 3/2, 1977

YAJ 1975 Vol47: (SE 60095203) The fortress interval tower (R.C.H.M. No. SW5), was disinterred by A. B. Sumpter. An earlier timber and turf rampart and timber interval tower were investigated. The early intervallum road had apparently been resited further N.E. to allow for the rear chambers of the interval tower. The new intervallum road, with stone drain, had been resurfaced several times. The last rubbish-strewn surface perhaps post-dated demolition of adjacent barracks, and suggests the breakdown of discipline in the late or post-Roman fortress.

RCHME, 1962, Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, Volume 1 Eboracum, p17 (Bibliographic reference). SYO62.

NMR, 2019, NMR data (Digital archive). SYO2214.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Digital archive: NMR. 2019. NMR data.
  • --- Bibliographic reference: RCHME. 1962. Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of York, Volume 1 Eboracum. 1. p17.

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Nov 28 2023 1:39PM


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