Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Romans in Lincolnshire

"TimeTeam2007" by Original uploader was Bedoyere at en.wikipedia Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
On a whim, and as an antidote to the very boring videos I have been having to watch in learning about search engine optimization, I searched for Time Team videos set in Lincolnshire.  I barely expected to find anything, because I am so used to there being a blank where Lincolnshire should be in any list or directory, but there were several Time Team episodes set in Lincolnshire.

Season eight has an Anglo-saxon cemetary in Lincolnshire, season nine has Ancaster on Ermine street in Lincolnshire.

Then there's Wickenby which was episode four in season 15.  Wickenby is about five miles from Market Rasen, and the episode I watched covered a dig there.  There appeared to be both Iron Age and Roman remains in the field in Wickenby, and interest in the site was partially aroused by metal detecting finds on the site - lots and lot of brooches and coins and stuff, including a marvellous metal bowl.

Tony Robinson appeared to be surprised that the Romans had penetrated rural Lincolnshire, as though it were shocking that they had deviated from the Ermine Way, the roman road which goes through Lincoln on its way to the north, but actually there are a lot of Roman remains in this part of Lincolnshire.  Three Roman kilns have been found in Market Rasen, and there have been a lot of finds in Osgodby, which is north of Market Rasen.

It was interesting to learn that not a lot is known yet about these smaller places - most of the finds for Roman Britain are within the context of the larger towns and forts which the Romans lost no time in erecting around the country.   Smaller places, where, it was suggested, the Roman way of life may have arrived and affected the way in which the native lived their lives, without an accompanying Roman population, are much less known.  It made me wonder if the recycling which the team thought was happening at the site (metal and stone) was actually being done to take advantage of the new market which the Roman invasion was offering - as they seemed to be of the opinion that the site was in use quite soon after the invasion in the first century AD.

It made me want to go and dig up the back garden, although I controlled that impulse.  Not only has the ground here been very disturbed because the house and garden have been in use for 160 years, but the weather is nippy and the ground is pretty hard at this time of year.  Archaeology is definitely a summer activity.

I was very disappointed when I visited the local museum at Lincoln, because I wanted to gain a clear picture of the history of Lincolnshire, and they seemed to have been diverted by the addition to the national curriculum by Egypt and invasion forces into including an overall history of the country and not a specific history of Lincolnshire or Lincoln.  Those things that were in the cabinets, stone age tools and other finds, were very poorly labelled with information.

It seems as though the history of the period of Roman invasion and settlement is not very well understood from a domestic and small-scale settlement point of view.  In the programme the Roman expert Guy de la Bedoyere suggested that a lot more will become known about these things in future years, but that little was known about it at present.

I visited his web site, which has qute a lot about the different legions which served in the Roman army, and about where they were stationed.   He is now working as a teacher at Sleaford.

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