Camerton Romano-British town and associated Prehistoric and early medieval monuments
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Oct-2019 at 09:48:36.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
- Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 68646 56623, ST 68704 56374
Reasons for Designation
Following the Roman conquest of Britain, a complex hierarchy of towns grew up which played a central role in the administrative and economic life of the new province. The term "Romano-British small town" is used to describe settlements of the period which are recognisably urban but which lack the administrative status of the Coloniae, Municipia, and Civitas capitals. The majority of examples were founded in the late 1st and 2nd centuries AD but the 3rd and 4th centuries also saw the emergence of a small number of new ones alongside the growth and development of the earlier establishments. Although many originated on the sites of fort-vici (civilian settlements associated with forts), developing into independent urban areas after the abandonment of the associated forts, others, such as Camerton, developed as roadside settlements on the major provincial highways. There are 133 Romano-British small towns known in England, mainly in the South and Midlands, of which 96, like Camerton, were unwalled. They exhibit a high degree of diversity (a recent study identified ten variants), reflecting the complex factors which governed their establishment and development. Although most have escaped modern urban development, many have been affected by road- building and unfavourable agricultural practices, damaging the vulnerable and fragile remains of the timber "strip-buildings". Those examples with well preserved archaeological deposits are a rare and important resource for the study of the Roman period and the development of its urban and rural economy. Limited, but well documented excavation at Camerton has demonstrated a diverse range of Romano-British features in a good state of survival. The importance of the site is enhanced by the association with earlier Iron Age and later Anglo-Saxon archaeological remains. The two Bronze Age barrows included within the scheduling are of national importance in their own right whilst the evidence of Neolithic activity is thought to represent more extensive settlement of that period.
The monument comprises the site of a small Romano-British town together with
associated Prehistoric and early medieval remains, located in fields north and
south of the modern A367. Partial excavation between 1926 and 1956 has
provided a detailed account of these remains. Activity in the Neolithic
period (4400-2400 BC) is attested by evidence of isolated features and
dispersed finds. In the Bronze Age (2400-650 BC) two round barrows (burial
mounds) were constructed on the hilltop south of the modern road. One of
these barrows survives to a height of over 6m. Evidence of the Iron Age (650
BC-43 AD) occupation includes a ditched enclosure at the eastern end of the
monument and more scattered features elsewhere on the site. Around AD 47 the
Fosse Way Roman road between Bath and Exeter was constructed over the Iron Age
settlement. Roman settlement grew up on either side of the road, built first
in wood and then in stone. By the 3rd century AD, the settlement featured a
small-scale iron smelting industry. Poorer building in the next century
indicates decline and by the 5th century the site was occupied by squatters.
The area immediately north of the Romano-British town was used as a cemetery
by the Anglo-Saxons during the 6th and 7th centuries AD.
The modern surface and make-up of The Old Fosse Road are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Iles, R, The Civil Parish of Norton Radstock
Wedlake, WJ, Excavations at Camerton, Somerset
Pitcher, G H, OSAD,
Proc. Somerset Archaeological Society, 1929 LXXIX,
RCHME, RCHME ST 6856/1 ST 6856/2,
RCHME, RCHME ST 6856/3,
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