West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service

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Excavations at Slack were carried out from 1913-15 and again from 1958-63. The results of these excavations suggest that the fort at Slack was probably founded by Agricola following the Roman conquest of Yorkshire to defend the newly established road between York and Manchester. The rampart which was constructed of turves on a stone footing, enclosed an area 111m (356 feet) square. The foundations of the gateways and their corner towers have also been located. Parts of the perimeter were double ditched. A bath-house was located to the east of the fort and an annexe to the north contained a small civilian settlement.

Excavations have revealed the outlines of several of the internal structures of the fort including the headquarters building and a row of barrack blocks. The majority of these buildings were of wood. Reorganisation and repairs seem to have taken place in c. AD 100, when two new granaries were also built. The granaries were roofed with tiles bearing the stamp COHIIIIBRE. This indicates that the granaries were the work of the 4th cohort of Breuci who also operated the nearby tilery at Grimscar. The Breuci originally came from the Balkans.

A further phase of building, this time in stone, was started in the early to mid-120s AD, but was never completed. The 1958-63 excavations established that the garrison had been reduced at that time. Occupation of the fort continued, however, until c. 140.

The civilian settlement in the annexe appears to have continued to flourish until the AD 160s and may have continued as later as AD 200. An altar dedicated to Fortuna by Modestus, Centurion of the Sixth Legion, which was found in the bath-house, may indicate the presence of decommissioned military personnel in the area.

Nothing now remains to be seen of the fort above ground. Finds from the site are now on display in the Tolson Memorial Museum in Huddersfield.

Related topics

Photo gallery

Larger Image (20 KB)
Slack: An artist’s reconstruction of the Roman fort

Further reading

Dodd, P.W. and Woodward, A. W., 1922, ‘Excavations at Slack’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 26

Hunter, J. K.T., Manby, T.G. and Spaul, J.E.H., 1971, ‘Recent Excavations at Slack Roman fort near Huddersfield’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 42, 74-97

Richmond, I. A., 1925, Huddersfield in Roman Times, Tolson Memorial Museum Handbook 4

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This material was compiled by
West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service,
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Email: WYHER@wyjs.org.uk