Skip to comments.Roman clues found at ancient hill (UK).
Posted on 03/10/2007 7:42:54 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
Archaeologists have found traces of a Roman settlement at a 5,000-year-old landmark man-made hill in Wiltshire.
English Heritage believes there was a Roman community at Silbury Hill about 2,000 years ago.
The 130ft Neolithic mound near Avebury - one of Europe's largest prehistoric monuments - is thought to have been created some 3,000 years earlier.
Experts carrying out a project to stabilise the hill say the site may have been a sacred place of pilgrimage.
English Heritage geophysicist Dr Neil Linford said: "We are really excited by this discovery because we had no idea that a Roman village of such a size lay this close to Silbury Hill."
The evidence suggests the Roman community was based on an area the size of 24 football pitches at the base of the hill.
The find was made using caesium magnetometers which can detect changes in the ground's magnetic field caused by human activity.
The settlement was on the road from London to Bath, which is the modern-day A4, where it crossed the Winterbourne river.
English Heritage regional director Dr Bob Bewley says it will be "exciting" to try to find out more about the Roman presence.
"Without further investigation it is difficult to say, but it could be that what we have here is something like a roadside village, where Roman travellers would have changed horses and stayed overnight on the way to Bath, but also a place of pilgrimage focused on the hill," he said.
Mystery surrounds why the hill, where stabilisation work will take place from May to September, was built in the first place.
Heavy rains in May 2000 caused substantial damage to the hill, with the collapse of an 18th century shaft.
Interesting. I have long thought if the Romans had stayed out of Britannia, the empire could have lasted another 500 years..
Those two guys in the first photograph look like they're doing something very similar to what the Romans did 5000 years ago - steering a cart around. The more things change, the more they remain the same!
Sapped a lot of their resources and made them look vulnerable to other enemies. You may be right.
The Caledonians and Celts gave the Romans fits. I think of all of the Roman Empire, Brittannia resisted the hardest. An interesting fact-sometime around 200 AD, a Roman Dux was transferred to Hadrian's Wall from a Danube stronghold to "restore order". His name was Artorius Castus. An inscription was found his sarcophogus detailing his exploits at the wall. He was fair to the locals, loved by the men he led and his section of the Wall was relativley free of trouble during his command. It is my belief he was the basis for King Arthur. The Venerable Bede, a 6th century chronicler mentions a great battle won by an Artorius, who was fair, honest and loved by his men. A great take on this theory can be found in "King Arthur" with Clive Owen. A great movie, IMHO..
Praetorian Peacock in the Temple with a PickAx?
People today are very similar to their predecessors, even though technologies advance and civilizations change.
what is the size of an English "football pitch?" It is roughly similar to a US football field?
100-130 yds. by 50-100 yds.
GreyFriar: Thanks for the ping. I hope they figure out when and why someone piled up that artificial hill.
Jedi Master Pikachu: Thanks for the picture. I'm surprised that an English football pitch can vary that much in size. I thought they would all be one standard size.
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Here's another good Google video, on Byzantium...
Good video. Thanks.
between silsbury hill, avesbury (sp) right nearby, and then the barrows and stonehenge, this is one of the richest visible archeological areas in britain.
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