Author: H. J. M. Green. Compiled, collated and edited by Tim Malim. xxiv+460 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (67 colour plates). 389 2018 Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 33. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784917500. Epublication ISBN 9781784917517. |
This publication presents the results of over 30 years of investigation into Roman Godmanchester, (Cambridgeshire), by Michael Green. The book accurately locates the 25 “sites” investigated, and pinpoints the trenches against the modern street layout. Although some sites covered large areas, many often had to be conducted as small trenches undertaken by volunteers. The origins for Durovigutum include evidence for Iron Age settlement which preceded two Roman forts during the 1st century AD. After its initial military establishment the book goes on to reveal the development of the Roman civic community and its cemeteries along Ermine Street adjacent to its crossing of the Great Ouse.
The town was surrounded by defences in the 2nd century and a wall in the 3rd century, its public buildings included a mansio, bath-house and brewery, aisled barns, basilica and several temples, and the socio-economic foundation of the community is explored with specific examples from excavated evidence including different types of domestic housing and workshops. A tavern, glassware-shop, dairy equipment, pottery manufacture and a smithy are detailed in this book, as well as analysis of land organization, infield and outfield agriculture, and a villa estate at Rectory farm. Specialist analyses include samian and coarse wares, vessel and window glass, coins, animal bone, dairy production, belief systems and burial practices, as well as the exceptional finds of a hoard of jewellery from one of the mansio pits, and a burial casket of wood and bronze.
Although partial or full reports of various excavations have been published in journals and monographs previously, this is the first time Green’s full body of work on Godmanchester has been collated and presented in one comprehensive volume. The book has not tried to include more recent investigations, and most illustrations are by Michael Green, drawn contemporary with his excavations.
About the Author
Michael Green was born in St Ives, Huntingdonshire, in 1931. His father was a dentist, a WW1 flying ace and a Colonel in the Northamptonshire Regiment, who died in action with the BEF at Ypres in 1940. Michael was brought up by his mother, going to King’s College Choir School, Felsted, before training as an architect and starting his excavations in Godmanchester in 1951. He joined the Ministry of Works in the early 1950s and was made a Senior Investigator of Historic Buildings at the Department of the Environment, before later becoming an Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings. He undertook rescue excavations at Whitehall Palace between 1960-62 for the Ministry of Works and London Museum, and helped in the redesign of the Jewel Tower on College Green opposite the Houses of Parliament. In 1990 he was a founding member and President of the Centre for Crop Circle Studies which sought a more systematic approach to understanding these phenomena, and he published many articles in the cerealogist. He was a frequent contributor to various magazines and journals, including the Illustrated London News, The Archaeological News Letter, and the Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, a society of which he was elected President for two successive terms 1980-85. He is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 2008 he published a definitive history of Clapham, where he has lived for some 30 years.
About the Editor
Tim Malim graduated from the Institute of Archaeology, London in 1980 and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, as well as Chair of the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers. He has conducted research in Chile, Peru, Sri Lanka and continental Europe, as well as the UK where his present role is Technical Director at SLR Consulting in Shrewsbury. In the 1980s and 1990s Tim was based in Cambridge, first with The Fenland Survey, and later he founded and then directed the Archaeological Field Unit of Cambridgeshire County Council, investigating and publishing many important sites including a synthesis volume on Stonea and the Roman Fens in 2005.
‘…[It] is impossible not to be in awe of Green’s commitment to Roman Godmanchester and we have cause to be grateful to Tim Malim for bringing the volume together. As a result of this publication we are undoubtedly better informed about this important site, but it is also clear that much potential remains to be realized from the sites and material presented (or not) in the volume – a mine for postgraduate dissertations and theses perhaps?’ – Pete Wilson (2019): Archaeological Journal, DOI: 10.1080/00665983.2018.1555125
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