Roman Villas - How the Other Half Lived at Fishbourne Roman Palace
Villas were one of the major features of the Romano-British landscape and remain a constant source of fascination and debate: farms or great houses? British landowners or absentee landlords? The place of these establishments in the life of Roman Britain is still uncertain.
Fishbourne and Bignor in Sussex are two very different examples of Romano-British villas.
The great palace at Fishbourne was founded with rich mosaics and decoration very early on, before being abandoned after a fire in the 3rd Century AD. Here we will look at the site and its mosaics - considering the competing (sometimes controversial) theories put forward to explain this remarkable and elaborate complex, which would not be out of place in Italy. In contrast, Bignor Villa has a more typical development, beginning as a small farming establishment and growing into a great courtyard villa with elaborate mosaics by the 4th Century AD.
Opulence, grandeur and wealth - these two villas had it all!
Study Day -
Meeting time / place
09:30 at Fishbourne Roman Palace
End time / place
17:00 at Fishbourne Roman Palace
Guided tour of the fabulous mosaics and gardens of Fishbourne Roman Villa, followed by artefact handling session with some of the finds from the site.
A light sandwich lunch in the Palace Café.
After lunch, a taxi will transport us to Bignor Roman Villa, where we will explore the grounds and mosaics, discussing the similarities and contrasts with the morning’s visit. There may be time to enjoy an ice cream at the end of the day, before heading back by taxi to Fishbourne Roman Palace where we disperse.