Hope Shale Quarry (Navio)

Excavations at Hope Shale Quarry
Overhead view of site with Navio fort in the background.
Recording at Hope Shale Quarry.

Since ARS Ltd started investigating the site in May 2019, we have uncovered the remains of a Roman settlement which adjoins the fort of Navio at Brough in the Hope Valley area of Derbyshire. The settlement, which is known as a ‘vicus‘, would have consisted of the homes and workshops of the people associated with the fort.

Our investigations indicate that the fort was first established during the late 1st century, c. 80 AD, as part of a Roman advance into Brigantian territory, before being abandoned c.125 AD. The fort was then established a second time around 154-158 AD and continued in occupation until the fourth century, c. 350 AD. The Hope Valley was vital to the Romans as a source of lead and the presence of the fort would have helped secure its production in this area.

The excavation has produced a large quantity of material which attests to a wide range of activities taking place in the vicus from craftwork processing activities, to storage, cooking, domestic occupation and defence. Finds included coins, carved stones, and thousands of sherds of pottery ranging from locally produced greyware to high-status terra sigillata and sherds of amphorae. Also recovered from within the settlement were two stone ballista balls which would have been fired from a catapult. Together with the substantial defensive style ditch surrounding the vicus, we can possibly suggest that, in addition to the fort, the vicus itself was also fortified.

Use the links to the right to view our photo gallery and to keep up to date with the latest news as we start post-excavation and uncover further discoveries!

Archaeological Research Services Ltd