The soldiers took control, building a fortified compound between the earlier gravelled centre of the town and the river. A protective ditch and rampart incorporated dozens of large timbers charred in the burning of the town. Defensive ditches and a rampart had been built directly on the ruins of the devastated city and it appears that a military base had been established there immediately after the uprising.
Two parallel V-shaped ditches, 8m across, and a turf-faced timber rampart, 5 to 7m wide and 3m high, formed the north-east corner of the enclosure. A road ran round the inside of the bank. The defences were traced for over 70m northwards but the full extent of the enclosure is unknown. There were few internal features left except for a possible granary and cookhouse. The corroded remains of a portion of chest armour, found during the excavations, could have been worn by either a legionary or auxiliary soldier.
By AD63, work was also underway on a new quay at Regis House (KWS94) that would allow essential supplies to be imported safely again from the Continent. It has been suggested that such personnel as naval engineers from the Fleet (Classis Britannica) would have been directly involved in the design and construction of quays and waterfronts in London (see Fleet).
At Regis House, for example, a properly-constructed quay must have been built by the military but with naval engineering expertise. The port facilities included regular storehouses and the bridge. The quays themselves comprised large squared baulks of oak, 600mm x 400mm in section, up to 9m long. The scale of these extensive timber structures shows that they were not erected by individual entrepreneurs but by civic and state organisation with access to major timber resources and heavy-lifting gear. The closest parallels to London’s quays are in Dover where the fleet had its base.
Numerous leather fragments were found dumped in the quay structure, identified as the remains of at least six military tent panels. Tents were made from a number of leather panels with seams and joints cleverly stitched together to allow the water to run off. Reconstructions have been based on depictions on Trajan’s Column, contemporary written descriptions and finds of leather from waterlogged sites, such as Vindolanda.
It is unusual to find such large fragments of leather discarded as the leather was usually re-cycled. Such panels would have come from the contubernium tent, used by the military to billet 8 men. Perhaps these tents were surplus to requirements once the base was constructed.
From the additional evidence of a stamp on one of the waterfront timbers indicating a Thracian auxiliary unit and a small section of scale armour and helmet ear-guard found at Regis House, the garrison was likely to have been an auxiliary unit and the finds of horse harness and a saddle fragment suggests that it was a garrison of auxiliary cavalry formed as part of a mixed vexillation to re-establish the town’s infrastructure.