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ROMAN PALACE

portion—has been stripped, and has proved quite sterile apart from two or three possible pits for trees. This idea of a formal flower bed or hedge round the edges and a wilderness and a few trees in the middle appears to have been typical of the Romans. An almost uncanny parallel to the Fishbourne garden can be seen in the famous fresco of the Garden of Livia from the villa at Porta Prima, just outside Rome, where the trees behind the formal pathway are filled with fruits and birds. (This has often been reproduced, notably in colour in Sir Mortimer

Wheeler's Roman Art and Architecture). The retaining wall of the west wing was also painted with foliage, to judge from the surviving pieces of wall plaster.

The visitor, having crossed the garden, would be faced by a short flight of steps which lead up to the west wing. Passing through the formal entrance, he would enter the audience chamber. This was a large room—some 35 ft. by 30, with an apse at the far end where the high dignitary for whom the palace was built, sat in state. The chamber was vaulted with ribbed stucco, pieces of which survived,

while the floor had a fine mosaic, which had mostly been ploughed away, though the smallness of the tessarae that survived witnessed its finesse and suggested a geometric pattern.

Although the audience chamber lay in the centre of the west wing, it in fact forms the southernmost extension of the main excavation, for unfortunately the modern road, the main A27 passes over the southern part of the villa, and the houses and gardens of modern Fishbourne line the road on either side. The long suffering occupants of the houses have indeed allowed

The North-East corner of the garden. The double system of water pipes was fed from a tank to the right. The short spur leading off the nearer (inner) pipeline was probably a later addition.

This photograph, and all the others of Fishbourne, was taken by David Baker.

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