Friday, August 31, 2012

A 'softly, softly' Roman conquest | This is Exeter

This much we know, although these facts were established only relatively recently following excavations in the Seventies.

What remains unclear is quite what the indigenous population, members of the Dumnonii tribe, made of the sudden arrival of foreign invaders.

No evidence of great battles has been uncovered to date but, increasingly, there are signs of a peaceful co-existence and an assimilation of Roman culture.

And that is why the excavations at a newly discovered settlement are so important. Dr Ioana Oltean and Dr Martin Pitts, the University of Exeter's Roman archaeology specialists, together with Danielle Wootton, Devon finds liaison officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, and Bill Horner, county archaeologist at Devon County Council, are leading the archaeological research that is indicating the influence of the Romans could have been greater than previously thought.

When we visited, the site near Ipplepen was a hive of activity, although work to cover it over is likely to have been completed this week as the project progresses to the analyses of what has been found.

Danielle said: "We have only exposed a small fraction of what we think might be here. This dig covers a corner of one field and we think the site covers at least 13 fields."