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ROMAN ANTIQUITIES SECTION


Gazetteer of ROMAN  Yorkshire
Military Settlements Roads Miscellaneous Villas Roads
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Roman Villa Sites in Yorkshire

In compiling these pages we faced a tricky problem over which sites to include, and which not. The evidence from many sites is slight, and whilst they may well have been villas, equally they may have been something else. It is beyond the scope of this site to enter into a major debate about the definition of a villa, so we have assumed that it is a group of buildings, with both domestic and agricultural use, of relatively high status . A posh farm, if you like! Using this definition, in order to qualify for inclusion here a site must demonstrate clear evidence of both the combined domestic and agricultural use along with clear evidence of high status.

In the past, the discovery of a small hypocaust or a tesselated pavement has often been enough for people to shout “villa”, but in reality there could often be many other possible interpretations. By way of example, the site at Well, near Masham, had a mosaic floor as well as a large plunge pool, so the high status is clear, however, there is no evidence of an agricultural use, and so this site appears in the miscellaneous section.

The most comprehensive list of potential villa sites in our area is probably the dissertation by Martin Burroughs, Villas of the Brigantes and Parisi (2001) although it does include a large number of sites which we have placed in the miscellaneous section. In addition, there are almost certainly many more sites waiting to be discovered. In the east of the county especially, many ditched field systems have been seen on aerial photographs which appear to be Roman, but sadly the soil does not appear inclined to show the parchmarks which might indicate the remains of stone buildings.