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What impact did the Roman army have on the native population living in the military north? The recent publication of the report on a settlement at Faverdale, Darlington, by Jennifer Proctor provides some unexpected answers.
The 2003 discovery of a major Roman-period site at Faverdale, on the north-west fringe of Darlington, was completely unexpected. Lying about midway between Dere Street and Cade’s Road, the two major north–south Roman roads traversing the North East, the settlement proved to be a prosperous trading settlement. But it was not one built in the Roman manner. Instead the clusters of roundhouses, enclosures, and ditches were above Despite being a native settlement in the northern frontier zone, Faverdale contained a small Roman bathhouse. This reconstruction imagines business being conducted inside over a drink and some oysters. The design of the wall plaster has been based on some surviving fragments.
unmistakably indigenous in style. From at least AD 70, the settlement’s inhabitants were able to access Roman objects on a scale unimaginable to those living in the rural North even a generation before. The wealth of Roman artefacts was equally surprising for modern archaeologists.
Traditionally, the lengthy Roman military presence in northern England is not believed to have done much to improve the lot of the native population. As well as the casualties and disruption inflicted during the AD 70s conquest of the
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk ecember 2012 |