Aldborough Estate Diaries

We have become aware of an opportunity for someone to investigate some 20 or so estate diaries from Aldborough relating to the period from 1840 to 1860 before they are donated to the record office. The diaries may shed some light on the excavations carried out in that period, they will certainly contain a lot of detail about life in the village and the surrounding estate.

Present-day Aldborough in North Yorkshire is the site of Isurium or Isurium of the Brigantes (Latin: Isurium Brigantum) which was a Roman fort and town, its remains—the Aldborough Roman Site—are in the care of English Heritage.

The 16th-century antiquary John Leland noted, “There be now large feeldes, fruteful of corn, in the very places where the howsing of the town was; and in these feeldes yereley be founde in ploughing many coynes of sylver and brasse of the Romaine stampe—Ther also have been found sepulchres, aqaue ductus tessalata paviamenta &.c.” Two centuries after Leland, Daniel Defoe wrote “Not so much ruins, especially not above ground”.

The site came to prominence during excavations taking place in 2004. A young archaeologist, Daniel Ebdon, was using a metal detector for the first time and uncovered a Roman coin. This, along with others of its kind, can be found in The Yorkshire Museum, York.

In 2011, geomagnetic scanning revealed the existence of an amphitheatre, emphasising Isurium’s importance as a major Roman town.

If anyone is interested, or requires further information, please contact:

Martin Millett FBA, MAE
Emeritus Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology
University of Cambridge
Faculty of Classics
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA

Office tel. 01223 335161
Mobile tel. 07802 713418


The featured artwork is a mosaic depicting the She-wolf with Romulus and Remus, from Aldborough, (c.300 AD), Leeds City Museum (16025914306)

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