Roman town of Ariconium
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005364
Date first listed: 17-Nov-1961
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Oct-2018 at 17:51:11.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Weston under Penyard
National Grid Reference: SO 64504 23875
Part of the small Roman town of Ariconium 745m east of Bollitree Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Five types of town are known to have existed in Roman Britain: coloniae, municipia, civitas capitals, Roman provincial capitals and Roman small towns. The first four types can be classified as `public towns' because each had an official status within the provincial administrative system. Roman small towns are settlements of urban character which lack the administrative status of public towns, but which are nevertheless recognisably urban in terms of morphology, features and function. They tend to lack the planned rectangular street grids, public buildings and well-appointed town houses of the public towns and instead are generally characterised by mainly insubstantial timber or half-timbered structures. Some small towns possess an enclosing wall, while others have masonry or earthwork defences. Additional features include temples, bath houses, ovens, kilns and cemeteries. Roman small towns began to emerge in the mid-first century AD. However, the majority of examples appeared in the later first and second centuries, while the third and fourth centuries saw the growth and development of existing establishments, together with the emergence of a small number of new ones. Some small towns had their origins in earlier military sites such as fort-vici and developed into independent urban areas following the abandonment of the forts. Others developed alongside major roads and were able to exploit a wide range of commercial opportunities as a result of their location.
There are a total of 133 Roman small towns recorded in England. These are mainly concentrated in the Midlands and central southern England. Some examples have survived as undeveloped `green field' sites and consequently possess particularly well-preserved archaeological remains. Despite cultivation the part of the small Roman town of Ariconium 745m east of Bollitree Farm survives comparatively well and will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, function, trade, industrial activity, commercial significance, administration, social organisation, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 16 June 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes part of a small Roman town at the junction of two known Roman roads situated on the gentle west facing slopes of a ridge between the Rudhall Brook and the Wye Valley. First discovered by chance in 1758 the town has been the subject of several excavations, field walking and aerial reconnaissance over many years. It is known to occupy a roughly rectangular area and includes domestic houses, streets, industrial premises (including iron works), shops, civic and commercial premises and burial sites which all survive as buried structures, layers and deposits many visible as crop and soil marks on aerial photographs. The settlement is known from several excavations from 1804, 1963 and 1968 for example to have commenced in the Iron Age and had its origins in the trading links with the iron producing areas of the Forest of Dean. Domestic settlement with finds including pottery and tesserae from the early 2nd century continued into the 3rd century and thereafter steadily declined with few artefacts from domestic situations known after 350 AD. The iron working which began in the north and continued in the south western part of the town did continue well into the 4th century and furnaces are known. Field walking in 1986 produced over 2000 artefacts including pottery and iron slag. Roads, buildings, enclosures and ditches have all been identified on various aerial photographs. The town is mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary (XIII).
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: HE 154
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing