The first part of the restoration was to excavate part of the rampart to find its dimensions. A single ditch was found in front of the rampart, though a second one may await discovery. The ditch was rather a small one, only 5 to 6 ft. deep, V-shaped, with a Ushaped slot in the bottom for drainage — the so-called 'anklebreaker'. Behind the ditch the gravel foundation of the rampart was found, showing that the rampart had been 18 ft. wide. The other dimensions, however, had to be calculated; the height would have had to be about 12 ft. to provide a reasonable barrier, and the width of the fighting platform about 6 ft. The angle of the front slope was taken as the average of several known examples and assumed to be 65 deg. At the rear it was the usual Roman practice to prevent general access to the rampart by presenting a vertical face for the lower 4 ft.; this meant that the angle between there and the fighting platform would be 42.5-45 deg., an 'angle of rest' for the earth face.
But having prevented general access by means of the 4 ft. wall, it was nevertheless necessary to provide access points, known as
Al l photographs by Brian Hobley.
'ascensus'. Traces of these in the form of a rearwards extension to the ramparts have been found on several sites, so it was decided to reconstruct one at Baginton. In order to minimise the rearward extent of the ascensus, they de cided to use seven deep steps about 20 in. each, to reach the platform, which kept the extent of the rearward extension down to 4 ft. The steps were built of turf like the rest of the rampart, and survived the first winter unprotected; wooden steps have since been inserted.
Before the ascensus was built the problems of the rampart had to be decided: whether to construct the rampart of turves throughout, or to include an earth filling. Since an earth filling is quite normal, it was decided to fill up approximately one third of the centre of the rampart with earth. The spoil from the ditch was used for this, but proved to be nowhere near enough, filling only one sixth of the central core; other earth had to be imported. The 6 ft. thickness of turf blocks at both front and rear of the rampart was found to be just sufficient to resist the earth pressure. A section using only 4 ft. of turf had to be replaced when dangerous bulging occurred within 24 hours. The internal timber work at the top, behind the front face, was essential to keep the earth fill stable. Although the turf had been stripped from beneath the rampart—no decayed turf line was found—yet it is assumed that the interior would have been left turfed, both to provide a suitable surface, and to allow the carpenters to get on with