The rural population of Britain formed:
83% - 90%
of the whole population.
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Iron Age Settlements, part 1
- Largely round houses, but some simple rectangular buildings.
- Set in different types of farm enclosure.
- Many replaced by villas later.
- But continued to be built into the 3rd and 4th centuries.
- E.g. Birdlip, Gloucestershire - where roundhouses were built in an area where villas were fairly common).
- E.g. Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire
- Marked continuity in domestic architecture, and gradual romanisation (in that a) not everyone accepted Roman living, and b)suggests co-existance wasn't too hostile).
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Iron Age Settlements, part 2
- Settlements fall into several categories
- Extensive Villages: e.g. Cranborne Chase, Fenlands, Upper Thames Valley.
- Grouped and isolated farms.
- Sometimes, non-villa settlements were located close to Villas.
- Homes of servants of tennants of the villa owning family? E.g. Stanwick, Northamptonshire.
- Non-villa owners, not neccesarily poor.
- Some may have been independent land owners.
- Some buildings demonstrate surplus of wealth.
- Some excavated remains show a high living standard.
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Villas: Introduction: Part 1
- 'A seaside or country etate of a wealthy member of the urban elite' - Salway
- But owned by very small population: 10-12%
- In written sources;
- Pliny: boasts of his country estate and garden
- But there is no literary evidence about Villa function or ownership in Britain --> only 1 name survives: Villa Faustina.
- Villas identified by architectural evidence/traces
- Some or all may occur; e.g. stone foundations, ceramic/stone-tiled roofs, mortar floors, tessellated pavements, under-floor heating, painted wall plaster, window glass, bath houses.
- All required specialist quarrymen, tile-makers, artistis, craftsmen
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Villas: Part 2
- Ranges of shapes and sizes:
- rectangular block, winged corridor, courtyards.
- Represents the adoption of a Romanised lifestyle.
- Many villas divided into sections:
- Some areas for relaxation, some for work, etc.
- Visitors could be restricted to appropriate ares (i.e. different rooms for guests/servants/family)
- Early villas, such as Fishbourne - an 'ostentatious showpiece) were more elaborate (mostly.)
- More modest villas spread later in the 1st/2nd centuries.(in south-east)
- By 4th: Villas became more common (in the east, centre and north-east of the countryside)
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Villas: Part 3: In the Economy
- Many villas were on farms, and formed a vital part of the market economy -- > linked to roads, provided producuts to local towns, etc.
- Some villas had specialities;
- Shakenoak Villa, Oxfordshire = fish-farming.
- Nene Valley Villas = pottery/metalworking.
- East Coast Villas = oyster-farming/salt production.
- Barnsley Park = wool production.
- Claydon Pike = horse ranch.
- Each estate would have included a range of resources
- Arable land, pasture, meadow, woodland
- Hambelden Villa, Buckinghamshire.
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Villas: Part 4
- Villa owners;
- Some descended from native Britons, e.g. children of chiefs who'd made deals with the invaders
- Some originated from overseas:
- 2nd Century tablet from Walbrook, London: mentions 3 men who owned a wood in Kent, names suggesting from the western empire, e.g. Spain, Gaul, Italy, etc.
- At the very most, 15% of Roman settlements in the lowland zone were villas. Proportions were even lower in the highland areas.
- Areas that have dense distribution of villas:
- Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Cotswolds, the area of Hertforshire around Verulamium
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Regional Differences: Part 1
- In the North and West (and in the Free North outside the province) the landscape differed.
- Ken and Pera Dark: a 'native landscape' survived in the highland zone.
- Military presence continued in highlands --> may have inhibited the growth of towns and villas, although a few examples did exist.
- The typical native settlement (across Wales, Cornwall, Northern England and Scotland) were enclosed by an earth or stone bank and a ditch. Houses were often round and stone.
- e.g. the brochs (stone houses) and duns (hill forts) of Scotland.
- e.g. Chysauster, Cornwall.
- In some areas on the edge of the highlands, settlements developed similarly to the lowlands.
- Villas known in small numbers from the south-west, northern wales, and northen england (particularly in the north-east)
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Regional Differences: Part 2: Trade
- Excavations in settlements in the highland zone show its common to find 'Roman' objects, e.g. pottery/coins --> Suggests a level of trade between the native population and Roman merchants.
- Cornawall and North Wales: Considerable quantitiies of Roman goods found on many sites.
- Northern England and Southern Scotland: Roman objects far less common.
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Imperial Estates: Part 1: Introduction
- Properties belonging to the emperor.
- Known in some parts of the empire, but it is not certain where they existed in Roman Britian.
- Main Possibilities:
- Fenlands, East Anglia
- Upper Thames Valley
- Hambelden Villa, Buckinghamshire
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Imperial Estates: Part 2: Fenlands, East Anglia
- May have been an imperial estate, housing series of tenants.
- Settlement at Stonea Grange, Cambridgeshire, may have been the administrative centre of the estate –-> as it had an elaborate tower.
- Had a substantial investment in the drainage system –-> may suggest public funding --> But no inscription/literary sources to back up claim.
- But may just have used surplus wealth in different ways than villa owners.
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Imperial Estates: Part 3: Upper Thames Valley
- The gravel terrances of the Upper Thames Valley has been suggested to be an imperial estate.
- Dense distribution of non-vill settlement, excavated at Claydon Pike, Gloucestershire.
- Elaborate with evidence of wealth surplus.
- Some military finds --> may have formed part of an estate that was run by the Roman army to supply units with horses.
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Imperial Estates: Part 4: Hambelden Villa
- Possible imperial estate -- > clearly a business.
- 70 gold pens found = suggests a lot of administration/paperwork.
- Corn drying ovens, but no graneries --> exported asap.
- 97 infant burrials found --> dead children of slaves.
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