THE ROMAN EAST GATE: A
BY A. P. DETSICAS, M.A., F.S.A.
it is very unlikely that, in present circumstances, any further
excavation can be undertaken for any remnants of the Roman East
Gate below the level of the High Street, an attempt is here made
to reconstruct this structure on the basis of the established
archaeological evidence and the analogy of other town gates.
The two most likely possibilities are that either
the original width of the gate was 29 ft. (8 .84 m.), narrowed
to 19 ft. (5.79 m.) in medieval times, or the original width was
19 ft. (5 .79 m.) and remained unaltered in the medieval period.
Of these two possibilities, the latter seems the least likely;
for in this case the width of the gateway is too wide for a
single-portal gate (at Colchester, the north-east gate is 10 ft.
8 in. (3.25 m.) wide; at Caerwent, the north and south gates are
about 9 ft. (2.74 m.) wide), and one would have to assume a
double-portal gateway 'with carriageways narrower than in other
Romano-British towns. Though this is, of course, not impossible,
it would seem unlikely in view of the fact that the East Gate,
at one end of Watling Street, was the main entrance into the
town on the highway from the Channel ports. If, on the other
hand, the first alternative is considered, there is a striking
identity in width (both 29 ft., 8.84 m.) between the Rochester
East Gate and the Silchester West Gate; moreover, both gates
date from about the same period. On these grounds, it is
suggested that the Rochester East Gate may have been very
similar to the Silchester West Gate in general, for no details
have been established about the Rochester East Gate.
A. P. Detsicas,
of the coarse pottery found during the excavations was recovered
in a number of pits, a few sherds were found stratified in
layers undisturbed by medieval activity, others were
completely unstratified or mixed with much later material; a few
sherds are illustrated and