Skip to comments.Roman Finds Re-Write History
Posted on 10/14/2005 4:44:24 PM PDT by blam
ROMAN FINDS RE-WRITE HISTORY
By Suzanne Pert
AMAZING finds by archaeologists during recent excavations at Brading Roman Villa mean history will have to be re-written, not just there but at other important mosaic sites around the country.
Archaeologist Kevin Trott with some of the pieces of pottery found at the Brading Roman Villa site. Picture by PETER BOAM
Although his findings are still to be published, archaeologist Kevin Trott has compiled a 400-page report, which has dispelled some long-held myths and is set to take the archaeological world by storm. This week he gave the County Press an insight into the archaeologically-explosive contents.
Palladius, the supposed owner of the villa, is now completely out of the frame. It has emerged that when the villa burnt down in a catastrophic fire in around 300 AD, Palladius had not even been born.
There is now overwhelming evidence that the villa dates from the third century, not the fourth as originally thought from the style of the mosaics.
This revision of its date has repercussions for other prominent Roman sites, which have been dated from the style of their mosaics.
"Our findings have even surprised experts like me but it is clear that basing a date on the style of mosaics is a false way of doing things," said Mr Trott, whose fast-growing reputation means he is being invited to talk at conferences about his work.
"The work we have just completed has unravelled everything completely," said Mr Trott, 33, who lives with his wife Kathryn and son, Joseph, one, in Staplers Road, Newport.
After his excavations, which began in 2003, the pottery, glass, coins and other artefacts were sent off to individual experts for their analysis. Once those reports came back, all the evidence was analysed and pulled together by Mr Trott.
He and a team of up to 28 people have looked at the site from the very earliest period 8,000 years ago in the Middle Stone Age up to the present.
During the period of the Roman Emperor Nero, in about AD60, there was a high-status building on the site. "Not only did the owner have mosaics but also painted wall plaster and the interesting thing is that he could afford minerals to make the paint up cinnabar and Egyptian blue, which came from Spain and Egypt respectively. Only five other sites in Britain have this and they include such significant places as Fishbourne Roman Palace," said Mr Trott, who comes from nine generations of Islanders.
The villa in Brading, as it is seen today, was built in 270AD, but it was to be completely destroyed in a catastrophic fire just 30 years or so later.
Soil samples suggest there was never a formal garden at the villa. All that was outside was domestic rubbish and toilets in front of the building.
Thousands of charred beans were also found the largest amount discovered in Britain and it is Mr Trott's view they were a staple diet on the Island, in the same way that Lincolnshire became known for producing brussels sprouts.
The beans were preserved by being charred, probably in the fire which destroyed the villa.
14 October 2005
Sounds like he opened up a whole new can of beans.
For newbies, please, what is GGG?
Oldest baked beans on record?
Gods, 'Glyphs and graphs
I get this feeling that Roman Brittain was a lot more like Appalachia than Beverly Hills eh!
Graves, not graphs :-).
What's the Isle of Wight like today? A Beatles song comes to mind, but nothing factual ...
That is interesting, as is the entire subject of international trade in the declining years of the Roman Empire.
Play that beautiful bean footage! (Sorry about that.)
D'oh. I don't know where that came from. (bangs head against wall)
It could be a homonym, depending on your local pronunciation :-).
1800s? The Roman Empire, and its successors in the Eastern Mediterranean, didn't decline in the 3rd Century.
Wasn't Rome sacked by Goths and Vandals, and then taken over completely by the Goths (Theodoric Amalung, and those guys) in the 5th century (give or take on the dates, my books are in the other room)?
I understand the greater continuity of Byzantium, but did that extend to regular trade as far as Britain?
I just love articles like this!
Technically that disrupted the continuity of government in the Western Empire, but it was still the same old place.
The West doesn't end until about 538 AD (there's a precise date for this) according to dendrochronology which shows a Fimbulwinter settling in for something like 3 to 5 years.
The Eastern Empire had unbroken continuity up until the city of Byzantium was sacked by the Crusaders, but then reasserted itself and lasted until the early 1400s when it was taken over by the Turks WHO RAN IT EXACTLY THE SAME WAY.
In fact, a good case can be made that the Eastern Empire didn't really end until the peace settlement of WWI that dismantled the Ottoman Empire and re-established the Arab states (which had been out of business for a thousand years).
The Roman Empire was a very large place ~ kind of like the US, and destruction in one quarter did not mean destruction in the others ~ no more than Katrina's destruction of New Orleans has any significance to the existence of Manhattan!
Interesting. Thanks for the big picture.
However, if agriculture and trade and so forth continued uninterrupted through all that time, what caused the tremendous decline in population and economic activity in Europe in the period from the 6th century to the 12th, roughly? What happened to Roman Britain, Roman Gaul, Roman North Africa, Roman Dalmatia, etc., if there was all this continuity?
Well, right. But during the active period of the Roman Empire, new legions would be sent out to occupy the provinces, even if retirees went native. Rome eventually stopped manning the frontiers, resulting in barbarians living on the ruins, as opposed to a continuation of Roman culture.
However, iirc, it's been demonstrated that higher economic development, long-term, in Europe and the Near East is very closely correlated with areas that were at one time Roman-occupied.
There are a number of theories concerning the cause, but the evidence suggests Krakatoa blew up about 538. This is the time it separated the island of Sumatra from the island of Java. Before that they had been a single island.
The Eastern Mediterranean, Southern Italy and Eastern Mediterranean were not much affected. China, on the other hand, was wiped out for 300+ years, which sounds pretty bad but was nothing compared to the 1000+ years for most of Western Europe.
An alternative theory is that a comet did the job.
Now, why did the people die? Well, even where they survived, the climate changed such that the dry high pressure zones moved in all around the Mediterranean. This fostered the growth of grass to the detriment of other plants, particular normal agricultural crops. Rats and mice do well in prairie. Black Plague is carried by rats and mice. The result was known as the Plague of Justinian.
Where people didn't survive well, more of them died and no record was made. Civilization ceased to be a factor in much of the West.
Among other things these guys had a tradition of a king with a round circle and an unfaithful queen.
So you're saying that the political situation in Rome was not the cause of the economic and population decline (and other disruptions), but simply coincided in time with the climate change that was the actual cause?
I gotta look through my bookcase at home, cause I think I have a book on this subject. It talks about the furthest outposts absorbed into the local society. You could very well be right regarding the Ossetians. The book has to do with Hadrian's Wall...the quest begins. :)
Since the Dark Ages happened many decades AFTER the German takeover, they are not connected.
A Fimbulwinter is not exactly a climate change ~ it's just an adverse winter weather pattern that lasts beyond one season. Things always return to normal!
Of course, that one was bad enough that everything got eaten and then they burned everything down to keep warm. When the Bretons arrived in France from Great Brittain in the 7th Century they observed that there were no people and few animals. In fact, it is claimed that the great magician Merlin had to replant all the grapevines in Beaujolais! The Carvajal clan penetrated all the way to the Jura mountains without encountering any other people. Obviously the invading barbarians had been destroyed by this disaster. In due course Ireland became the center of Christian thought, action and missionary work for Western Europe.
Very interesting. This is not an approach I've encountered before, but it's certainly not something I'll dismiss out of hand.
I appreciate your time!
Oh, can you recommend a book on the subject that I might find in my library?
PBS had a program on it. They replay it from time to time.
I get this feeling that Roman Brittain was a lot more like Appalachia than Beverly Hills eh!
HEY NOW!! I resemble that remark. 8^)
Did you ever drive though the mountains when they set fire to an outhouse? That smoke is heavy and lies low in every valley.
And Chariots up on granite blocks?
Hey, Romans invented concrete. Maybe the chariots were up on protypical "concrete blocks".
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That's pretty much my take on it as well. There were probably isolated islands of 'romans' though in various of the outer portions of the empire for quite a while after Rome itself departed for more hospitable climes.
Have any of the GGG'ers read any of the "Camolaud Chronicles" books? For those not familiar, it's a really long extended telling of the story of King Arthur. However the story is told as imagined by the author how it could have happened without 'magic' or supernatural events. I think there are six books in the series, that begins with Arthur's Grandfather Britanicus, a roman general who retired to Britain. Arthur isn't even born until the third book! It's a fascinating read. The author did a lot of research into the period. (about 500AD IIRC)
The way he explains how Excalibur was drawn from the "Lady of the Lake" is pretty cool.
Just FYI, the Britons didn't speak Gaelic or any Godelic language - that was the branch of the Celtic language family tree spoken in Ireland and the Isle of Man (and later on, highland Scotland.) The Britons' branch of Celtic was called Brythonic, and today includes what we know as Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
I love this, it is called 'theory' bashing or throwing out that cup of tea leaves and using facts.
The same goes for Brittany, with one of the branches completely disappearing in the 1300s or thereabouts as it's last example bit the dirt before an onslaught of Gallo. This left behind a plethora of surnames with unusual prefixes and honorifics.
Scotland is a special case since yet another branch of the ancient Celtic languages prevailed in most places until the arrival of the Scots in the 9th Century (who brought both a q and p version with them). Although no one knows what really happened, I suspect the Scots, with their Viking allies, managed to remove and replace the natives!
Given that so many of the communities in the Celtic Fringe were illiterate until modern times, what they spoke in the distant past in any particular place is very little more than a good guess. Of course, in the far distant past, we know they owned Greek scribes because that's the language in which their business and religious affairs were conducted.
Given that so many of the communities in the Celtic Fringe were illiterate until modern times, what they spoke in the distant past in any particular place is very little more than a good guess.
We do have a decent sampling of writing in the native languages from the Dark Ages and Middle Ages, and the selction is particularly rich coming from Ireland and Wales, which show the Goidelic/Brythonic split pretty nicely. There are also many, many examples of Roman inscriptions using local languages and names for deities, which strongly indicate that whatever local variations in languages may have existed, the general split was there. There's also the Irish Ogham stones, even the earliest examples of which are written in proto-Gaelic.
Of course, in the far distant past, we know they owned Greek scribes because that's the language in which their business and religious affairs were conducted.
That's a new one on me, as well. Are you talking about their pre-Roman, pre-literate past? I'm not aware of any examples of Greek writing which show Celtic business affairs - in fact the only example of pre-Roman examples of Celtic written records at all is the Coligny Calendar, which was definitely written in Gaulish rather than Greek. I will try to remember to ask Alexei Kondratiev about all this.
Most of our earliest materials concerning the comings and goings of the Scota, et al, are in Greek ~ these are not Greek records, but Scota records in Greek!
In an earlier time Sumerian played a similar part in the Middle East, and in a later time Latin played the same part throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.
BTW, the last report I read concerning what the Picts spoke suggested their language group had many Celtic words acquired from the Celtic tribes with whom they traded, but otherwise it stood alone (as does Basque).
BTW, it was still Alba up until the 9th century when the Scota and their Viking allies took over the place, so differentiation into Alba and Scotia slops over the Romano-Brittain period and can be confusing.
I dunno, I think your information about the Picts (at least) is about 20-30 years out of date. It's not what is being taught in Celtic studies classes currently.
The Dark Ages was a world-wide event.
The 3rd Century was a period of decline. It was rescued by Diocletian and Constantine