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Hertfordshire Romano-British small town

Baldockand the end of Roman Britain

When did Roman Britain end? The question has come alive this year as archaeologists celebrate the 1,600th anniversary of the traditional AD 410 date for the collapse of Roman rule. New excavation evidence from the Roman town of Baldock in Hertfordshire is, according to local archaeologists Keith FitzpatrickMatthews and Gil Burleigh, a star exhibit in the case.

Sandy

Bran Ditch

Whatever the significance of the year AD 410, most archaeologists agree that the first quarter of the 5th century AD saw the end of Roman imperial control over Britain. One of the most fundamental changes was that civilised, urban life came to a rapid end. We can argue about the speed of collapse but, with the remarkable exception of Wroxeter, the towns seem to have been largely deserted soon after AD 400.

Or were they? New discoveries at Baldock may suggest otherwise. Coupled with older evidence from nearby Verulamium (St Albans), the implication may be that something significant was happening at former Roman town sites in 5th century Hertfordshire.

The Verulamium evidence is well known, but remains controversial. Sheppard Frere’s claim

Pirton Dane Field

Arlesey

Blackhorse

Farm

Baldock

Hyde Hall

Hitchin

Clothall

Broadwater

Braughing

KEY

Towns

Sub-Roman finds

Other settlements

‘Pagan Saxon’ finds above Sites in the Baldock area that have yielded 5th and 6th century evidence.

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current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk eptember 2010 |

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