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03-Aug-2020 17:36

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The excavations have been continued by his sons, Robin and Anthony, and his grandson, Andrew Birley, into the present day.

They are undertaken each summer, and some of the archaeological deposits reach depths of six metres.

It had been presumed that this title was, by this time, purely nominal, with auxiliary troops being recruited locally, but an inscription found in a recent season of excavations suggests that native Gauls were still to be found in the regiment and that they liked to distinguish themselves from British soldiers.

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The first, a small fort, was probably built by the 1st Cohort of Tungrians about 85 AD.

By about 95 AD this was replaced by a larger wooden fort built by the 9th Cohort of Batavians, a mixed infantry-cavalry unit of about 1000 men.

That fort was repaired in about 100 AD under the command of the Roman prefect Flavius Cerialis.

The later stone fort, and the adjoining village, remained in use until about 285 AD, when it was largely abandoned for unknown reasons.

In the 1930s, the house at Chesterholm where the museum is now located was purchased by archaeologist Eric Birley, who was interested in excavating the site.In about 1715 an excise officer named John Warburton found an altar there, which he removed.