Dec 2 2009 Chester Chronicle
THE well-preserved remains of a Roman tower used by guards patrolling Chester’s City Walls has been discovered by archaeologists repairing a section which collapsed near the Eastgate Clock.
Interval towers were placed regularly every 65m or so along the rear of the main fortress wall and acted as lookout points and as bases for roman artillery. The tower has been found beneath the foundation of the city wall.
City Archaeologist Mike Morris said: “We have been working closely with the stonemasons as they carefully dismantled the City Wall.
“When they came to the bottom, we excavated an archaeological trench to see what lies underneath.
“To our surprise, almost as soon as we started digging, a well-made sandstone wall appeared. It was running across the line of the City Wall and was more than 1m thick.
“Several of these towers have been found over the last hundred years and we knew there should be one in this vicinity but it is remarkable that we hit on exactly the right spot and that it has survived so well in this location.
“The last time we had the chance to investigate one of these was during the development at Abbey Green more than 30 years ago. Although we know a lot about the archaeology of Chester, there will always be exciting, unexpected discoveries like this.”
Restoration specialist Maysand is undertaking the work to repair the Walls section, joined by a team of specialists from Giffords, English Heritage, Chester Renaissance and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Rita Waters, chief executive of Chester Renaissance said: “The wall will be left intact and the City Wall rebuilt above it.
“A tumble of large stones was found on each side of the Roman wall, probably from the collapse of the tower sometime after the fortress was abandoned and before the City Wall was built.
“It is hoped that these will be able to be reused in the rebuild so that something of this hidden history is visible for future generations.”
Councillor Richard Short, Executive Member for Culture and Recreation said: “This restoration of the City Walls is vitally important to Chester.
“This project is very exciting and it is great that people can watch the progress on our webcam.”
The webcam address is http://188.8.131.52:2222/cgi-bin/guestimage.html
Roman tower including City Archaeologist Mike Morris.