Roman Period in Hampshire’s History
Tracing connections between Hampshire and our Roman History.
Hampshire is fortunate in having a rich Roman history. Some of the earliest and most active sites such as Hamwic near Southampton, no longer have remains on the ground but are fascinating nevertheless. The villa at Rockbourne can be visited and Hampshire has two major sites of Roman occupation, Portchester Castle down on the coast and Silchester in the north of the county.
An eye on the roads in Hampshire can also reveal some clues about Roman occupation. The straight roads radiating out of Winchester like spokes on a wheel are Roman. Look along the road the B3420 from Winchester and on each side the Roman ditches can be clearly seen. Use the British Ordnance Survey Map of Britain to see the shape of Roman Hampshire. Not much remains of the old Roman walls in Winchester but those in Portchester are magnificent.
In addition there is a dynamic Roman Timeline and collection on Intriguing History that may help set the context of the Roman period in context to the overall history of Hampshire.
The Romans were making pottery in the area of Alice Holt in Hampshire, a grey, coarse kitchenware and in the New Forest a range of wares has been excavated.
Roman sites continue to unearthed such as the one at Horndean which revealed itself to archaeologists in 2013. This site would have been adjacent to the Portsmouth to London road, an important Roman highway.
The Curtis Museum in Alton is one of a number of museums in Hampshire where the visitor can explore unusual Roman artefacts found in Hampshire. Look out for Roman remains in Hampshire church yards. The church of St Peters in Soberton has a large rock cut Roman coffin in it’s church yard, brought here from a local field.
The Portable Antiquities Scheme lists a number of finds made in Hampshire. This scheme encourages members of the public who make finds to add them to the database.
So as you can see, there is a host of Roman Hampshire History to access. We will keep adding resources as we find them so do come back and visit the site.