Roman Settlers

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In AD 43, Emperor Claudius invaded and the Romans settled in Britain. Archaeologists have found evidence of Roman influence on this area, but much more may lie undiscovered.

What is now Petersfield was once a quiet, rural area between the bustling Roman towns of Winchester and Chichester. The area was home to some of the wealthier members of Romano-British society. Archaeologists have found remains of their large villas in local villages such as Stroud, Liss and Colemore.

Romans may have also lived in present-day Petersfield. In 1976, archaeologists found Roman pottery and brick in a well in Sheep Street, just metres from here. The brick looks to have come from a heated Roman floor, and hints to more history under the town.

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Before the Romans settled, Iron Age Britons lived in small farming communities on hillforts, such as at Torberry Hill in nearby Harting. Archaeologists have found Iron Age material at Colemore Roman Villa, which suggests the owners were a native British family adopting a Roman lifestyle.

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Buriton hoard, 1400 – 1250 BC

Purchased 19 March 2018 with support from an anonymous benefactor

The people living near here in the Middle Bronze Age knew how to accessorise. This period saw local bronzeworkers making highly crafted objects like these bracelets and necklaces, known as torcs.

Bronze Age people might have buried collections of valuable objects as offerings to the gods. This hoard was found in Buriton, and others have been found in nearby Liss and Harting. Why the ornaments in these hoards were buried in pairs is an unsolved mystery.

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Pawprint on tile, about 200 – 400 AD

Found at Liss Roman villa, Hampshire

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Pottery, about 200 – 400 AD

Found at Liss Roman villa

The potter’s finger marks are still visible on this fragment. It was made in what is now Rowlands Castle, where there was a Romano-British pottery industry.

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Strainer piece, about 200 – 400 AD

Found at Liss Roman villa

Known as Alice Holt ware, this was made in Alice Holt forest, an important production centre of domestic ceramics in Roman Britain.

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Game counter, about 200 – 400 AD

Found at Liss Roman villa

Made from the base of a pot.

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Roman coins, 293 – 341 AD
Found at Liss Roman villa

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Animal bone, 100 BC – 400 AD

Found at Chalton Down, Hampshire

Excavations at Chalton Down have revealed clues about life at a Romano-British settlement that once existed there.

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Spindle whorl, 100 BC – 400 AD

Found at Chalton Down

Spindle whorls were used as weights to make spinning yarn easier. This one is made of chalk.