Monument details

HER Number:1972/0/9
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Heronbridge Roman site


Archaeological investigations for the Heronbridge research Project by Chester Archaeological Society in 2002. In area of Heronbridge Roman settlement lying between Eaton Road and the River Dee.

Trench III was positioned to provide a north-south section across an ancient stream bed encountered in previous excavations at the point where it cuts across the ancient river cliff. A deep infill of deposits marked the position of the silted-up mouth of the ancient watercourse. Geophysical survey indicated the south side of the channel, suggesting it was 9-10 meters wide. A ramped trackway and rock cut pits, (possibly used to support cranes?) were found on the north side of the inlet. Pottery found in the make up of the trackway suggests a Hadrianic date for its construction. East of the trackway three rectangular rock cut graves were found, two large and one small. Human bone and fragments of roman tombstone were recovered from one of the graves. It seems likely that the graves were ransacked in post roman times. The graves are an isolated group with no further burials in the vicinity. The different size of the laboriously cut graves suggests they are those of a family group of father, mother and child. The sculptured stone tombstone fragments were carved with a funerary banquet scene, a common roman tombstone scene, shown on a number of tombstones found in Chester.

In 2003 this trench III was extended to obtain further information about the roman quay and to excavate the quayside deposits to a greater depth. The neatly quarried rock face uncovered in 2002 was found not to continue and the rock beyond this point had an uneven face caused by quarrying. No definite features were located and further excavation was not considered worthwhile.

The deposits in front of the promontory where the rock cut graves were discovered in 2002 was also investigated. Deposits of sandy loam and gravel were identified as well as fragments of sandstone block, found to further fragments of sculptured stone. The fragments are though to derive from the tomb or tombs erected over the rock cut graves at the edge of the quay. These tombs were proabably destored when they were ransacked in antiquity.

Cut recesses in the quay wall were also found, similar to the circular pits found on the north side on the inlet in 2002. Suggested that these may have held some kind of mooring post. (2)


Monument Types

  • DOCK (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • GRAVE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • RAMP (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • SETTLEMENT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1006774: Heronbridge Roman Site

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund