Skip to main content
Read page text


Frocester as a whole. Developments in town- occurs also at Maes Howe in Orkney. I

scapes, rural settlement, trade and saw it in 1979 on a fine evening unhin-

I WAS MOST interested to read the piece on Frocester in CA769. Mr. Price is to be congratulated on recovering a fascinating archaeological sequence.

Two points relating to the late villa complex were particularly striking.

Firstly, the upstairs, downstairs,

arrangement of elegant rooms on the first floor and semi-working rooms below should not strike us as unusual.

What we may be observing is the evolu-

society mirrored those on the continent.

If these developments are empire wide in their most general form, then it is time we started to refer to this period by the name by which it is known elsewhere in the empire; that is late antiq-

uity, rather than the overly negative sub Roman?

dered by cloud. As the sun sets, its light enters the long tunnel to the tomb's inner chamber, lighting the east wall's stones a glowing golden yellow; The finale sees this light rise slowly a few feet up the wall, not downwards as one might expect. Doubtless this upward rise had symbolism then as well as now.

VerypossiblyClavahasthis finalealso,

OLlVER GILKES, Institute of World on fine winter solstice evenings.

Archaeology, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 TTJ

Another ancient tomb facing the westward sea is the Dwarfie Stone in tion of a typical medieval building form, the two storied hall with living quarters above and work spaces underneath. Excavations in the Mediterranean have now shown that this is a classic and common development of 'villas' in the late Roman countryside. The great 5th and 6th century site of San Giovanni di Ruoti, for example, has as its focus a great two storied hall with an elegant reception room upstairs. This architectural form develops further later on, as can be seen by the 9th century 'guests hall' at the monastery of San Vincenzo al Volturno (CA 739),the dining room of

Pope Leo IIIat San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and of course the mighty reception hall of the Emperor

Charlemagne himself which still stands in Aachen.

The second point is how Frocester fits so well into the model of the late antique villa described by Palladio, the late Roman agricultural writer. He speaks of the centre of a villa estate being the Praetorium, a complex that could include living quarters, and productive facilities, especially, mills, kilns and other paraphernalia that were used by the burgeoning tenantry who formed the bulk of the rural population of the time. Surely at Frocester we have a British Praetorium, explaining the workaday nature of the ground floor with the padrone or his agent living above?

Frocester merely emphasises to

CONGRATULATIONTSO EddiePriceon being able to re-visit his site and develop interesting new ideas about it.

And nice drawings too.

Those deep foundations are intriguing. Here in North London we are used to the underpinning of Victorian houses to a depth of three metres to avoid the seasonal swelling and

Hoy, another ancient wonder, a twocompartment tomb hollowed from a single oblong large rock lying in the valleyfloor

Incidently, Maes Howe's winter solstice sunset can now be viewed on the Internet.

Jeremy Godwin, 75 Drovers Lane, Penrith,

Cumbria, CA 77 9EP

shrinkage of the upper clay layers; a dimension, however, that is unrelated to the height of the building. Butwould all builders of the Roman period have had

County SMR

AS I AM a frequent contributor to the the same expertise?

Northamptonshire Sites and Monu-

I am also worried about the idea of ments Record, I recently requested a having mosaics on the upper floors. A

printout of all my entries. This came out at 337 pages long, but in fact about suspended timber floor, such as the one from Southwark illustrated in CA 724, two-thirds of the pages are of no rele-

would have needed a bedding layer vance and many of my entries are missing. The reason I requested the minimise differential movement printout was a procedure I have only (opus signinum?) 5-10 cm thick to between the planks - and this would just found out about, after seven years. I

have been heavy. While by no means can ask for a printout to check what goes into the SMRevery time I submit discounting his explanation for the loose tesserae, I do wonder whether the evidence rules out the existence of worded. Until August last year it was information,so that I can query how it is mosaics in the inner rooms of the apparently mandatory for them to send ground floor, which might surely have been more heavily used by the squatters and their domestic animals?

these, without mymakinga request, but they haveneverdoneso.

I wondered whether other Northants

Clive Giller, 78 Ospringe Road, London NW52JE


SMRusershad had similarexperiences. I have written to several organisations askingtheir advice. Thereare a number of different problems encountered.

One problem is repetition of 'feature what degree certain elements of

FURTHER TO THE Clava (Winter economy and society in later Roman Britain were integrated into the Empire Solstice) article (CA765),the same event type' records, in one case 13 repeats of the same six feature types over 17

pages of printout, for only three lines of



My Bookmarks

    Skip to main content