Roman Occupation of the Tees Valley

WhereGreat Broughton Village HallType of EventIllustrated Talk
WhenMonday 25th June TutorRobin Daniels  Chair of Tees Archaeology

Robin Daniels needed little introduction to his audience as many had already witnessed his lecturing skills albeit on a different topic but mention was made of the reduction in funding to Tees Archaeology which inevitably reduces the impact of their work in this area. 

Robin began by giving a timeline sketch to the Roman Occupation and the transition from an Iron Age subsistence economy to a Romano- British one, based on the monetary commerce that the Romans brought with them . From 1000BC to the Roman invasion in 43AD the Tees Valley area had been populated by scattered farmsteads and small enclosed hamlets. The occupation of the north of England progressed over the next thirty years culminating in the defeat of Venutius and the Brigantes in c74AD, and a major military road / Dere Street (with forts) running north to Hadrian’s Wall, to the west of the Tees Valley. From this time to c200AD the area saw gradual changes to the economy with some fairly low quality imported goods and mortuaria indicating change to culinary skills. The shapes of buildings began to change and over the next two hundred years or so until the early 5th century, settlements are regarded as Romano British and are offering up much in the way of supportive evidence.

So far a few Roman villas have been unearthed on various settlements, now with typical rectilinear buildings in stone, but occupied by whom? There is a hypothesis for retired military personnel, who would have some income, to import some creature comforts (Samian ware, glass from Egypt and even a sophisticated heated room for the chills of the winter) but were not of the wealthier settlements that evolved from the forts such as recent excavations at Binchester.

Evidence of conflict in the early 5th century and the loss of any evidence thereafter, indicates the demise of the occupation , perhaps the coastal signal stations (or were they fortlets) were defending the land behind them? Whatever the answers, there are still many questions and much evidence of the occupation still to be unearthed. Up to ten years ago there was nothing and who knows what is yet to come ….. 

Following a short break questions were answered and the evening concluded with the anticipation of future updates (funding permitting) of who lived, and how did they live in the Tees Valley in this period. We look forward to welcoming Robin back to find out. 

A memorable evening. 

Click on the link for further information on the work of Tees Archaeology

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