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A comparison of the magnificence of many of these 4th century villas with their timber predecessors of the 1st emphasises the marvel of Fishbourne—a fully Romanised establishment imposed on a Celtic landscape. But we know of two other remarkable houses being constructed shortly after the conquest. The first is the villa at Angmering (Sussex) trenched sporadically and by many hands between 1819 and 1945, and never adequately published. The earliest buildings here, apparently Neronian or early Flavian in date, are of stone construction from the start. Of the main house, virtually nothing is known or published (though the plan seems to show walls of at least two phases). The large bath-house, outside the ditched enclosure, apparently followed very soon, to be joined by a small rectangular structure, 7 ft. deep, with plastered walls and a verandah, which may have been a temple-mausoleum. The use of opus sectile and mosaics in grey and white only prompts a direct comparison with Fishbourne (only 15 miles away); certainly the villa's first excavator was in no doubt about 'the foreign builder, importing Italian material and eking it out with local substitutes during the first generation of the Roman occupation'.


The deficiencies of this site are more than compensated for by Mr. Alec Detsicas' patient work (nine seasons, to date) at Eccles (Kent). Masonry was used here, too, for the first house, dated to c. A.D. 65. This was a strip-house of ten or more rooms (three tessellated) and a verandah. But this simple house was accompanied by a large and sumptuous bath building with mosaics, in which the box-pattern in black and white is


Much of this information is unpublished, and I am grateful to the excavators for their help Some sites are being prepared for publication— Gadebridge Park and Chalk in the new journal Britannia (vols. 1 and ii) , Barnsley Park and Frocester Court in Trans. BGAS (both in part), Winterton (HMSO) and Fishbourne (Society of Antiquaries and also by Thames and Hudson). Partial reports and interims are already available tor Latimer (Med.Arch 1968), Barnsley Park (Trans. BGAS Ixxxvi, 1967), and Eccles (Arch. Cant. Ixxviii—Ixxxiv, 1963-1969). Rapsley has appeared in full in Surrey Arch. Coll. Ixv, 1968, and Angmering can be pieced together from Sx.A.C. vols Ixxix-lxxx, 1938-1947. The Frocester Court garden was described in Proc. Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club, xxxv ptiii 1968-9.

Dr. Percival's ideas will be incorporated in a forthcoming book on villas, and the new book The Roman Villa in Britain, ed. A.L.F. Rivet (R.K.P. 1969, 45s.) should be read in conjunction with Dr. Applebaum's paper in Rural Settlement in Roman Britain (C.B.A. Res. Rept. 7, unhappily out of print).

The photograph of the Rockbourne garden and the information were supplied by Mr. A. T. Morley Hewitt, whose guidebook can be bought on the site.

strongly reminiscent of Fishbourne. Certain features (the circular laconicum, for instance) are thought to betray the influence of military architecture. This was replaced by another with marked civilian characteristics, though with some reduction in size: and a third followed, on an even more grandiose scale than its predecessor. These are merely the earliest phases in the long and complicated history of this villa. And, as with the other two, one is compelled to ask: who was the owner? and why the sequence of expensive bath-buildings? The main house, in its first phase, may well turn out grander than the evidence suggests so far ; and it is even thought possible that this was the focus of a group of early villas without baths, and that their occupants had permission to use the one central establishment. And the owner? We could follow Mr. Detsicas' caution in assuming him to be a Briton—'a philo-Roman landowner adapting himself to the Roman example within a decade of the invasion'. But this would be a dramatic transformation ; another suggestion (on which Mr. Detsicas is understandably sceptical) is to postulate an immigrant settler with official backing and architectural provision—perhaps an official of the new government, established near the newly constructed Watling Street that linked the future capital of Londinium to Richborough, the port for Gaul.

I have quoted only a few of the complete villa excavations that are in progress, or planned. These help to answer Mr. Rivet's implied plea 'out of some 600 known structures in Britain loosely referred to as villas there are, to be generous, a score which have been examined in what could be called a scientific manner, and none has been completely excavated'. We are, perhaps, wiser than our predecessors, and know that an establishment as complex as a villa must be studied in its entirety, and that this requires a large outlay of money, labour and time. A villa must be seen in its context, whether environmental, political or social. One wonders what posterity will have to say of the excavations of which we are so proud today.


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