Friday, July 13, 2012


Londinium was established as a town by the Romans after the invasion of AD 43 led by the Roman Emperor Claudius. Archaeologists now believe that Londinium was founded as a civilian settlement or civitas by AD 50. A wooden drain by the side of the main Roman road excavated at No 1 Poultry[1] has been dated by dendrochronology to AD 47, which is likely to be the foundation date.
Prior to the arrival of the Roman legions, the area was almost certainly lightly rolling open countryside traversed by streams such as Walbrook.[2] Londinium was established at the point where the Thames was narrow enough to build a bridge, but deep enough to handle sea-going marine vessels. Remains of a massive Roman pier base for a bridge were found in 1981, close to the modern London Bridge.

It was traditionally thought that Londinium started as a civilian settlement, although there is also slight evidence that there was a Roman fortress. However, archaeological excavation undertaken since the 1970s by the Department of Urban Archaeology of the Museum of London, now called MOLAS, has failed to unearth any convincing traces of military occupation on the site, so many archeologists now believe that Londinium was the product of private enterprise.[3] Its site on a busy river-crossing made it a perfect place for traders from across the Roman Empire to set up business.
The name Londinium is thought to be pre-Roman (and possibly pre-Celtic) in origin, although there has been no consensus on what it means. It was common practice for Romans to adopt native names for new settlements. A common theory is that the name derives from a hypothetical Celtic placename, Londinion[4] which may have been derived from the personal name Londinos, from the word lond, meaning 'wild'.