acrowded late Roman city Silchester
We last reported on Silchester less than three years ago. Since then, three seasons of further work have taken place (1999-2001) which are transforming our picture of late Roman Silchester. Instead of a garden-city of grand residences in ample grounds, we now have street fronts crowded with neat timberframed buildings and modest stone houses. How can the interpretation have changed so much? Current Archaeology visited the Silchester dig last summer to view the new evidence and talk to Mike Fulford and Amanda Clarke, the project directors, about their current thinking.
Above. Margaret Mathews' computer-generated reconstruction of the north-south street down the east side of insula IX. Key findings represented here are the overall density ofstreet-front development and the way in which the spaces between more substantial masonry buildings were in filled with timber-framed structures. A view of this street under excavation appears on page 367.
Below. General view of the insula IX excavation in 2007 showing House 7at an angle to the rest of the insula. The site is criss-crossed by narrow Victorian trenches dug in the search for Roman masonry structures, but comparatively little of the site was destroyed in this way, and re-excavation is yielding rich rewards. The walls of House 7 are clearly visible in the centre of this photo. Inset. Detail ofwork in progress on House I.
Mike Fulford and Amanda Clarke, Co-directors of the Silchester 'Town life' Project. Amanda is a Research Officer and Mike is Professor of Archaeology (and currently ProVice-Chancellor) at the University of Reading.