Water Newton

Water Newton
Water Newton Lock - geograph.org.uk - 342893.jpg
Water Newton Lock and church
Water Newton is located in Cambridgeshire
 Water Newton shown within Cambridgeshire
OS grid reference TL108972
Shire county Cambridgeshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
EU Parliament East of England

Durobrivae (Water Newton)

Durobrivae was a Roman fortified garrison town located at Water Newton in the English county of Cambridgeshire, where Ermine Street crossed the River Nene. More generally, it was in the territory of the Corieltauvi in a region of villas and commercial potteries. The name is Celtic, or more accurately Brythonic, in origin, and essentially means "fort bridge".

During the Iron Age Britain was divided into distinct tribal areas. The area lay between the Catuvellauni to the south and the Corieltauvi to the north, with the Iceni to the east. The origin of Durobrivae is said to have been as a vicus attached to a "pre-Flavian" fort, established about half a kilometre to the east of modern Water Newton, between the Claudian invasion of 43 AD, and the beginning of the reign of Vespasian in 69 AD. Its first historical mention is in the Antonine Itinerary of the late 2nd century. While the archaeological record for the Roman period shows that Durobrivae was a busy centre for pottery up to the end of the 4th century AD, thereafter it is blank. In Anglo-Saxon times, local settlement came to centre on Medeshamstede, now known as Peterborough.

Roman archaeology

During ploughing in February 1975, a hoard of 4th century Roman silver was discovered, which is known as the 'Water Newton Treasure'. They were probably buried by an inhabitant of the nearby Roman fortified garrison town of Durobrivae. The silver plates and bowls, votive tokens engraved and embossed with the labarum (the chi-rho cross), and an unengraved standing two-handled cup of the form (cantharus) later used as chalices comprise the earliest group of Christian liturgical silver yet found in the Roman Empire. Due to the importance of this find, it is now in the British Museum, with replicas at Peterborough Museum.