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Click here to see strategies recommended for addressing agenda themes and topics for this period.
5.1 Chronology
  1. How can we enhance our knowledge of developing pottery industries, particularly during the Conquest period and 3rd to 4th centuries?
  2. How may information on temporal and regional variations in pottery typology and vessel fabrics best be disseminated?
  3. How may our understanding of sites known only from metal-detected and fieldwalking finds be enhanced?
  4. How can we advance our knowledge of the chronology of metal finds, particularly brooches?
  5. What are the priorities for scientific dating, particularly radiocarbon, and how may targeted dating programmes be developed?

5.2 The military impact

  1. How far was the military conquest a motor of social and economic change?
  2. To what extent is the pivotal location of the region between civil south and military north reflected in the archaeological record?
  3. Can we define more closely the distribution of early military sites and their periods of use?
  4. How did the supply needs of military garrisons and armies along the northern frontier affect the economy and transport infrastructure?
  5. How did the withdrawal of Roman political and financial support impact upon the established society and economy?

5.3 Growth of urban centres

  1. What spurred the foundation of extramural settlements (vici) next to early forts and how was the development of vici and forts related?
  2. How does the distribution of towns correlate with Iron Age foci, and how far may their social, political and economic roles have overlapped?
  3. What processes drove the growth of secondary urban centres?
  4. How were towns organised, what roles did they perform and how may their morphology and functions have varied over time?
  5. How and why did the urban landscape change in the late Roman period, and what roles may fortifications have played in this period?

5.4 Rural settlement patterns and landscapes

  1. How did the Conquest impact upon rural settlements and landscapes?
  2. How and why did settlement forms and building traditions vary within the region and over time?
  3. How did rural settlements relate to each other and to towns and military sites, and how may this have varied regionally and over time?
  4. How did field and boundary systems relate to earlier systems of land allotment, and how did these boundary networks develop over time?
  5. What patterns can be discerned in the location of settlements in the landscape?
  6. Can we elucidate further the daily life of settlements and their role in the processing and marketing of agricultural products?

5.5 The agricultural economy

  1. How is the upland-lowland divide manifested in the regional agricultural economy and other aspects of the archaeological record?
  2. How did integration into the Roman Empire impact upon the agrarian economy, including the introduction of new crops, herbs and fruits?
  3. What is the evidence for the diet of people of high and low status in urban and rural settlements, especially those close to military sites?
  4. Can we chart more closely the processes of agricultural intensification and expansion and the development of field systems?
  5. Can we define more precisely the networks developed for the trade and exchange of agricultural produce and fish?

5.6 Artefacts: production, distribution and social identity

  1. What resources moved in and out of the region during this period?
  2. How can we add to our understanding of the nationally important iron and lead industries?
  3. How may studies of the production, movement and consumption of pottery contribute to understanding of the regional economy?
  4. What production techniques and exchange networks were involved in the manufacture and marketing of salt and building materials?
  5. How can we utilise most effectively the regional coin resource as evidence for the transition to a monetary economy?
  6. What can artefact research contribute to studies of eating, drinking and other manifestations of social identity?

5.7 Roads and waterways

  1. Can the chronology of road construction and links between road building and campaigns of conquest be clarified?
  2. How were roads, rivers and artificial waterways integrated?
  3. To what extent may communication routes have been influenced by Late Iron Age settlement patterns and routes of movement?
  4. How may roads and waterways have impacted upon established communities and how may roads have influenced urban morphology?

5.8 Ritual and religion

  1. How far is the location of religious sites related to Late Iron Age activity and to what extent may structured deposition of human/animal bones in settlement/boundary features have continued?
  2. How far may data from surveys and the Portable Antiquities Scheme assist in locating religious or ritual sites?
  3. Can we elucidate the beliefs and practices associated with religious or ritual foci and may certain classes of site have been associated with particular activities?
  4. Why have so few early Roman burials been found, and may practices have varied regionally and between different communities?
  5. What may studies of later Roman inhumation cemeteries teach us about changing burial practices and demography?

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Trent & Peak Archaeology
Site/Project Name
Our City Our River
County/Unitary Authority
Derby City
SK 35311 37535
Museum No
DBYMU 2015-21
Report and Web Link
Davies, G. & Flintoft, P. 2017. 'Our City Our River- Excavations in the heart of historic Derby'. Northern Archaeology Today 10.

Agenda Topic(s)

Research Objective(s)

How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

During 2016 and in advance of flood alleviation works, Trent & Peak Archaeology undertook large-scale excavations in the city centre of Derby, part of which took place in and around the Scheduled Monument of Little Chester Roman Fort.

The excavations allowed for the detailed recording and elaboration of the northwest fort defensive ramparts, for which a clear sequence could be established spanning the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. The investigations revealed that the fort did not have a complete defensive ditch/rampart circuit on its western side, but instead utilised the natural harbour of the River Derwent which was formalised as a quayside in the 2nd or 3rd century. Indeed it is suggested that the presence of the harbour may have been an influencing factor in the choice of location, highlighting the importance of trade and exchange at the site alongside military control (Davies & Flintoft 2017), which is of direct relevance to Agenda Topic 5.7.4.

These excavations also produced new information pertaining to the layout and sequence of activity within the extra-mural vicus to the east and north of the fort, including evidence of floodplain reclamation and the construction of timber built structures and metalled surfaces from the 1st century, followed by major re-planning during the 2nd and 3rd century. The excavations were able to conclusively demonstrate the construction of a road leading westwards from the fort to the river during this 2nd and 3rd century re-planning period. East of the point where this road bisected the north-south aligned Ryknield Street, evidence of stone-built domestic and industrial structures was recorded. Nearer the fort concentrations of coins and brooches on metalled surfaces nearer the fort further suggested areas of mercantile activity. Overall the evidence indicated 'a high degree of order and 'functional zones' in the vicus' (Davies & Flintoft 2017). Within the fort interior excavations also uncovered part of the via sagularis (perimeter road) and south of the fort a new road was identified leading north towards the southern gatehouse The excavations thereby addressed Agenda Topics relating to the development of vici and forts (Agenda Topic 5.3.1) and the urban landscape (Agenda Topic 5.3.5), as well as the chronology of road construction and the relationship of roads to campaigns of conquest (Agenda Topic 5.7.1).

In terms of recovered material, animal bones and other palaeoenvironmental evidence both from the vicus and within the fort provides insight into dietary differences between garrisoned soliders and civilians which contribute towards Agenda Topic 5.5.1. Further analysis of the diverse pottery assemblage recovered from the excavations is also likely to shed light on Agenda Topic 5.6.1. Indeed as analysis of the results continues it is anticipated that further research framework questions which were identified at the beginning of, and during the assessment stages, of the project will be addressed.

--Tina Roushannafas, 06-Feb-2018 11:18

Cotswold Archaeology, Historic England, University of Reading & University of York
Site/Project Name
The Rural Settlement of Rural Britain
Report and Web Link
http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/romangl/; Allen, M, Lodwick, L, Brindle, T, Fulford, M, Smith, A 2017 The Rural Economy of Roman Britain: New Visions of the Countryside of Roman Britain Volume 2 (Britain Monographs 30). Roman Society Publications; Smith, A, Allen, M, Brindle, T, Fulford, M 2016 The Rural Settlement of Roman Britain (Britannia Monographs 29). Roman Society Publications

Agenda Topic(s)

Research Objective(s)

How has this work addressed the Research Agenda and Strategy?

The Roman Rural Settlement research project has brought 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. An interactive map hosted on the website, as well as a set of downloadable .csv files, allow for this data to be further explored and interrogated.

The project has a national focus but compiles data of relevance to East Midlands research priorities, including Agenda Topic 5.4.5 'What patterns can be discerned in the location of settlements in the landscape' and Research Objective 5H 'Investigate the landscape context of rural settlements', with the latter specifically calling for the 'dissemination of key unpublished datasets'.

--Tina Roushannafas, 28-Feb-2018 10:23

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  This page (revision-169) was last changed on 28-Feb-2018 10:30 by Tina Roushannafas