Discovering the history of the Romans in Ravenglass site

Discovering Roman Ravenglass

The Roman fort at Ravenglass was first discovered in the 1850s. During the 1880s local notables including Lord Muncaster began to excavate the site. In the 1970s the site was excavated using modern archaeological techniques.

Geophysical survey

Initial geophysical surveys some 30 years later revealed rectangular outlines inside the fort. These remains of barrack block buildings showed that both infantry and cavalry troops were stationed at Ravenglass.

The survey results importantly illustrated the extent and layout of the vicus. The stone walls of buildings could be seen strung along the substantial Roman road leading through the vicus to the fort at Hardknott.

Archaeological excavation

During the 2013-2014 excavations remains of walls from many Roman buildings were found. Artefacts including beads, bits of crockery, hob-nails from shoes, coins and decorative beads provided clues to everyday life for the Romans in Ravenglass. Because of metal-working iron waste we found, we also know that some of the buildings in the vicus were used by blacksmiths.


Artefacts were recovered during field-walking on the beach. We now know that the vicus extended to the cliff and is eroding into the sea. Future surveys can now monitor erosion and loss of archaeological deposits.

Please note

The Ravenglass Roman fort and settlement are part of the Hadrian's Wall UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is illegal to use metal detectors on Scheduled Monuments. Please do not use metal detectors on private land without the landowner’s permission

Ravenglass Roman fort and bath-house are protected as Scheduled Monuments. Though they have survived for 2,000 years the sites can be easily damaged.

Please help preserve the Lake District’s heritage by leaving the site exactly as you found it. Please take care around the remains of the bath house.