Record Details

NHER Number:25333
Type of record:Monument
Name:Aylmer Roman Canal


The Aylmer Canal is thought to be a Roman canal offering transport and communication through the local area. The environment around the canal during the Roman period is uncertain, but it may have been waterlogged silts or peat lands. It is thought that the canal was partially washed away by a sea inundation during the 2nd or 3rd century.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 5755 1306
Map Sheet:TF51SE

Full description

Roman canal evidenced from earthworks and cropmarks (S1). Incorporates sites NHER 20886 context 3, NHER 21397 context 3 and NHER 21856 context 2.
E. Rose (NAU), July 1989.

1989-1990. Fenland Evaluation Project.
The roddon forming the canal was traced in the parish, and augered to examine deposits and to obtain samples.
Dossier prepared for English Heritage. Copy in file.
M. Leah (NLA), August 1990.

September/October 1992.
As part of the Fenland Management Project a section was cut across the canal. Trench 80m long and 1.7m deep.
At north end of trench a possible canal cut, around 12m wide, identified.
No definite base located. Surrounding natural sediment consists of laminated silts whilst canal cut filled, at base and sides, with a much darker, stickier clay.
Contexts usd 1-11 inclusive at TF 5642 1372.
Map and summary report in file.
See publication (S2) for further details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S3).
M. Leah (NLA), 16 July 1993.

Previous assessment of the Aylmer Canal invisioned its use as a means of transport and communication across waterlogged silts. As a result of radiocarbon dating an alternative possibility that it ran across the peat lands in the early Roman period is suggested. The incorporation of several creeks in the canals traverse of Tilney St Lawrence is thought to support this. However it may be that these were incorporated into a man-made watercourse, the canal may be viewed as a feature of the earlier peat fen. A marine inundation in the 2nd/3rd century, recorded in the landscape, is thought to have washed away some of the canal banks and given a new lease of life to the old Marshland Rivers.
Information from (S4).
Ruth Fillery-Travis (NLA), 16 July 2007.

Two linear features aligned east to west, probably post medieval ditches (also in NHER 21397).
One post medieval sherd was recovered from one of the ditches.
J. Allen (NLA), 15 September 2000.

Monument Types

  • LINEAR FEATURE (Unknown date)
  • CANAL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • DITCH (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • SAMPLE (Undated)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Photograph: FVZ.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Monograph: Silvester, R. J. 1988. The Fenland Project Number 3: Marshland and Nar Valley, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 45. p 59; Fig 42.
<S2>Monograph: Crowson, A., Lane, T. and Reeve, J. (eds). 2000. Fenland Management Project Excavations 1991-1995. Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series. No 3. pp 167, 202-205.
<S3>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1993. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1992. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt IV pp 522-532. p 531.
<S4>Monograph: Silvester, R.. 1994. Fenland Project No 9: Flandrian Environmental Change.. East Anglian Archaeology. Vol 70, p 332.

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