The south-east corner of the Classis Britannica Fort.
In the first half of the second century AD,
the Roman fleet in British waters, the Classis Britannica,
selected Dover as its headquarters on the British side of
the Channel (it had another base on the French side, in Boulogne).
As its base it built a large fort, covering more than two
acres, on a shoulder of land below the Western
. A fort was laid out about AD 115-120 but was
never completed. A second fort was built about AD 130-140
on a similar alignment, and this fort was completed.
The army style fort was surrounded by a defensive wall and
contained a headquarters building, at least two granaries
and barracks. The buildings were separated from each other
by wide metalled roads, along which ran drains and piped water.
Two massive stone lighthouses were built on the cliffs either
side of the town to guide ships from France into the harbour.
One of the lighthouses, the pharos
can still be seen in Dover Castle, and is the tallest surviving
Roman building in Britain.
To the north of the fort was an extensive civilian settlement
containing many substantial buildings, including the Roman
(built around AD 200) and a military bath-house
(built around AD 140-160). Early in the third century AD the
Classis Britannica left Dover, never to return. The fort was
abandoned and soil accumulated over the remains until the
building of the Saxon