31 May 2011
New book on Roman Nottinghamshire
The book covers the standard themes of pre-Roman tribal society, Romano-British religion and culture, military sites, villas and roads. The author also devotes space to every major Roman site in the county and summarises past and present discussions about their development; from the 17th/18th century fantasies of the antiquarians to the more scientifically based conclusions of modern archaeologists. The roadside settlement of Margidunum on the Fosse Way near Bingham is given the most attention and Patterson challenges some of the conclusions drawn by Felix Oswald who excavated it in the 1930s. I was, however, sometimes surprised by the order of the sections, particularly the one on post-Roman Nottinghamshire which appears at the end of the 'life's essentials' chapter after a discussion on diet and food!
The book is well illustrated but would be improved by the addition of detailed maps showing the distribution of villas, forts and roads in Nottinghamshire and the surrounding area: the two maps that are included depict some of the information but they don't show the full picture.
Minor criticisms aside, it remains a very useful and eminently readable summary of the latest research on the Roman archaeology of Nottinghamshire and is highly recommended.