The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain: an online resource

Martyn Allen, Nathan Blick, Tom Brindle, Tim Evans, Michael Fulford, Neil Holbrook, Julian D Richards, Alex Smith, 2015

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Prof Michael Fulford
Professor of Archaeology
School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
University of Reading
PO Box 218
Tel: 0118 9318131
Fax: 0118 9316718

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Martyn Allen, Nathan Blick, Tom Brindle, Tim Evans, Michael Fulford, Neil Holbrook, Julian D Richards, Alex Smith (2015) The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain: an online resource [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (doi:10.5284/1030449)

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This resource brings together the excavated evidence for the rural settlement of Roman Britain with the over-arching aim to inform a comprehensive reassessment of the countryside of Roman Britain. It includes both traditionally published reports and 'grey literature' reports from developer-funded excavations since 1990.

The project arose from pilot projects undertaken by Cotswold Archaeology1 and funded by Historic England and it began in 2012. It is funded by grants from the Leverhulme Trust to the Universities of Reading and York (ADS)2 and from Historic England to Cotswold Archaeology.3

Phase 1 (April 2015) publishes the settlement evidence from Roman England. Subsequent phases will add Roman Wales (by December 2015) and the related finds, environmental and burial data (by 1st April 2017). These will be used alongside the specific site data in a series of integrative studies on rural settlement, economy, people and ritual to be published by the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies as Britannia Monographs between 2016 and 2018.

Map showing English region records

Roman England includes some 3,482 reports, the vast majority of which were produced since the implementation of PPG 16 in 1990. However the project has reached back and includes some sites published as early as 1808. Each site is described with bibliographic entries, as well as information on chronology, settlement type and morphological form. The project has not included all investigations, such as watching briefs and small-scale evaluations producing Roman evidence, but has limited its scope to those that have yielded plan, chronology and quantified finds data susceptible of characterisation and synthesis. The cut-off for inclusion here is publication before 31st December 2014.

'Grey Literature': with the agreement of the parties concerned including the 88 HER/SMR/UAD consulted as part of this project, the reports accessed for this project have been scanned and made available through the ADS.

Map showing regional data sources
Total developer/non-commercial reports

1 Cotswold Archaeology 2008. Assessing the Research Potential of Grey literature in the Study of Roman England. Stage 1 Report. Cirencester; doi:10.5284/1000418
Cotswold Archaeology 2009. Assessing the Research Potential of Grey Literature in the Study of Roman England. Stage 2 Report. Cirencester; doi:10.5284/1000418
M. Fulford and N. Holbrook, 'Assessing the Contribution of Commercial Archaeology to the Study of the Roman Period in England, 1990-2004', Antiquaries Journal 91 (2011), 323-345.

2 Leverhulme RPG-417: 'Evaluation of PPG 16, 'grey' literature and the rural settlement of Roman Britain' 2012-15; RPG-2014-227: 'From Roman England to Roman Britain: rural settlement, society and economy' 2015-17.

3 English Heritage: 'Assessing Grey Literature in the Study of Roman England 2011-2014', 2012-17.