Roman civilization travelled further than history books tell us

Aug 05, 2011
Roman civilization travelled further than history books tell us
Roman coins. Credit: Portable Antiquities Scheme and the University of Exeter

A University of Exeter archaeologist’s research has uncovered the largest Roman settlement ever found in Devon. The discovery could force us to rewrite the history of the Romans in Britain.

The discovery of a large Settlement in Devon was the result of a chance metal detecting coin find.  Danielle Wootton, the Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and archaeologist at the University of Exeter was called on to investigate further.

Two metal detectorists discovered nearly a hundred Roman coins in a series of fields a several miles west of Exeter. This would not be unusual in other parts of Britain but it has always been thought that Roman influence never made it this far into Devon as there is little evidence of Romans in the South West Peninsula of Britain.

After the results of a geophysical survey Wootton was astonished to find evidence of a huge settlement including roundhouses, quarry pits and track ways. The site covers at least thirteen fields and is the first of its kind for the county.

Wootton received funding from the British Museum, the Roman Research Trust and Devon County Council Archaeology Service to carry out a trial excavation on the site in June. This has uncovered evidence of trade with Europe, a road possibly linking to the major settlement at Exeter, and some intriguing structures, as well as many more coins.

University of Exeter archaeologist Danielle Wootton said: “This is a really exciting discovery, but we are just at the beginning: there's so much to do and so much that we still don't know about this site. I'm hoping that we can turn this into a community excavation for everyone to be involved in, including the metal detectorists. I am very grateful to Earthwatch for funding next years excavations , but we still need more funding to run the excavation.

“Most exciting of all, we have stumbled across two burials that seem to be located along the side of the settlement's main road. It is early days, but this could be the first signs of a Roman cemetery and the first glimpse of the people that lived in this community.”

Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, believes that this is one of the most significant Roman discoveries in the country for many decades. He said: “It is the beginning of a process that promises to transform our understanding of the Roman invasion and occupation of Devon. I believe we may even find more settlements in this area in the next few years.”

Future excavations at the site are being funded by Earthwatch, Devon County Council and the University of Exeter, and will be directed by Danielle Wootton in conjunction with the University’s Roman archaeology specialist, Dr. Ioana Oltean. The project will provide the wider community and University students with an exciting opportunity for fieldwork experience and training.

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flashgordon
3 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2011
Ah yes, coins!

I've seen coins from Minoa of their fascination with mazes, coins of Hittite rulers of like 1200s, coins of Alexander the Great(with rams horns no less; to much to talk about them here!), every roman emperor from Alexander the Great to the Roman emperors of like four hundred A.D. had coins! The Ptolemies had coins. Paul had coins. There were coins of all kinds of major Jewish temples and so on. I've seen coins of Pontius Pilot who supposedly freed Jesus Christ(the real Pontius Pilot would not have done such a thing!)

Guess what? There's no coins of Jesus Christ! Around a thousand A.D. in Byzantine they did some Jesus Christ coinage; note, this is around the time people thought maybe they should make up some idea of what Jesus Christ looked like; the first pictures of Jesus Christ hanging on a cross were in Byzantium almost a thousand years later!
Silverhill
3.5 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2011
The "real Pontius Pilot" would steer a boat or an airplane.
The real Pontius Pilate might or might not have freed a rabble-rousing prophet; how do you know that he wouldn't?
(Also, only persons of acknowledged great political power, such as kings and emperors, had coins struck with their images. A poor, unknown, un-politically-powerful commoner in Judea would not have been the subject of government-issued coinage.)
flashgordon
1 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2011
That's always the reply; i was waiting to see if anybody would say that. I of course mention the Paul coin(of course, Paul was ponying up with the Roman emperors including the Herodians to create his new christianity).

I should also note that James the Just(who's james the less in the Gospel of Mark) doesn't have a coin; if you read Eisenman's "James Brother of Jesus" you'll see that much of the gospel descriptions and activities are James the Just; James the Just in conclusion seems to be written out of history . . . by somebody.
flashgordon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2011
Jesus christ was not some obscure poor little fellow; according to the Christians, he's the son of god; he is a god; his birth alone caused Herod the Great to try to kill all the firstborn(according to the gospel of Mathew).

If he's such a god, he should have converted everybody to chistianity with an eyeblink - or not even that!
flashgordon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2011
The Gospels and the Pauline writings are pro-roman; they say pay unto caesar what is his. If that's not a clue, then I don't know what is(of who most likely wrote the Gospels).
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2011
If he's such a god, he should have converted everybody to chistianity with an eyeblink - or not even that!

Why?
Do you force your children to conform to your will? If so, how and why?
Or did your parent force you to conform to their will? Were they successful? How would that have helped you grow as an intelligent being?
flashgordon
1 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2011
Spindoctoring; i conclude the dark side of the force is winning; it's getting way late; i don't feel like explaining this right now; tomorrow sounds like a busy day; point is the irrational are vagueness gamers; what do we have here; vagueness gaming.
farmerpat42
not rated yet Aug 06, 2011
What is the possibility that the people in the region weren't neccessarilly Romans, but someone whom traded with Romans often enough to use their coin? Finding legitimate Roman burial sites would be significant and would change quite a bit about Roman internment rites, which leads me to think these may not neccessarilly be Romans.
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2011
What is the possibility that the people in the region weren't neccessarilly Romans, but someone whom traded with Romans often enough to use their coin? Finding legitimate Roman burial sites would be significant and would change quite a bit about Roman internment rites, which leads me to think these may not neccessarilly be Romans.
Interment? It is quite jarring to read "internment rite" neccessarily associated with an arch "whom".
Beard
5 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2011

Do you force your children to conform to your will? If so, how and why?
Or did your parent force you to conform to their will? Were they successful? How would that have helped you grow as an intelligent being?


The irony is astounding. You just described every single devout household's relationship with their children. Only a small minority of exceptional kids can overcome that bias and free their minds. (I've actually never met one)
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2011

Do you force your children to conform to your will? If so, how and why?
Or did your parent force you to conform to their will? Were they successful? How would that have helped you grow as an intelligent being?


The irony is astounding. You just described every single devout household's relationship with their children. Only a small minority of exceptional kids can overcome that bias and free their minds. (I've actually never met one)

The children of ministers, rabbis, and law enforcement officers often rebel against the confines of their upbringing, because it's a natural function of youth to rebel. Some overcompensate and wind up getting into trouble with the law or an unhealthy lifestyle, but you can easily trace the roots of that back to the nuclear family. If a young person doesn't rebel against the dogma they're raised with, it's worrisome. A healthy society depends on the rebellion of its youth to repair and renew its stodgy and sacrosanct belief system.
Beard
not rated yet Aug 06, 2011
The children of ministers, rabbis, and law enforcement officers often rebel against the confines of their upbringing, because it's a natural function of youth to rebel.


Not often enough it seems, as you can plainly see that religion self perpetuates through hundreds of generations. It might only be possible to rebel in a secular free country at all. Trying that in Iran would get you stoned to death. This might be one reason that religious conviction is declining throughout the world as it continues to modernize.
Telekinetic
1 / 5 (2) Aug 07, 2011
Like most doctrines, change comes in small increments. I remember when the Pope allowed Catholics to eat meat on Fridays, instead of fish. Then, Church-approved 'rhythm method' birth control was abandoned by many women over the years. And lately, many Catholics have abandoned going to Mass altogether. In Teheran, the youth is moving toward secularism, despite the militant suppression. It's because of the nature of metropolises that engender ideas that challenge the norm to take hold. The reason that reigion can be pervasive and long lasting is that it's tales play into the psyche of children, who as adults, find solace and identification with the symbols of suffering/liberation in them.
Magnette
not rated yet Aug 08, 2011
What is the possibility that the people in the region weren't neccessarilly Romans, but someone whom traded with Romans often enough to use their coin? Finding legitimate Roman burial sites would be significant and would change quite a bit about Roman internment rites, which leads me to think these may not neccessarilly be Romans.


That is a reasonable assumption that is backed up by the fact that they discovered roundhouses on the site. Roundhouses were an Anglo-Saxon construction rather than Roman and, as they followed the demise of the Roman influence in England, there is every possibility that the artifacts were left over from the Roman era and moved to the area with the Anglo Saxon settlers.
There wasn't a clear line between Roman and Anglo Saxon periods, there would have been a change-over period that would have combined the idiosyncracies of the two populations and their cultures.