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The Rise and Decline of Druce Farm Roman Villa (60-650 CE)

Excavations 2012-2018

Lilian Ladle
Publication Year:
488 pages
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of Roman Britain, 8
BAR number:


Results from the excavation of this high-status Roman villa confirm its occupation throughout the Roman period and beyond, illuminating lifestyle and landscape through detailed analysis of its architecture, finds and environmental remains. This site includes rectilinear enclosures and associated Roman style buildings dating from the mid-1st century, and represents the earliest known proto-villa in Dorset. The buildings resemble those excavated in the south-east of Britain, with the acquisition of building materials, pottery, glassware, household, personal items and coinage confirming the economic vitality and wealth needed to sustain an elite lifestyle. Phases of construction and demolition are discussed, highlighting dramatic changes in the use of the site. There is also significant evidence of metalworking, textile production and hunting activities across the period of occupation. Discussion is supported throughout by comprehensive site plans, photographs and artefact illustrations. This excavation presents unparalleled evidence for villa development and decline, with relevance not only to those interested in Roman Britain, but also Northwest Europe more generally.

Lilian Ladle is an independent archaeologist and a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Bournemouth University. She directed excavations at the multi-period sites of Football Field, Worth Matravers and Bestwall Quarry, Wareham. She was awarded the MBE for services to archaeology in 2008 and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2021.

‘This is investigative and research work of the highest quality. It will be an essential book for anyone studying Roman archaeology, the archaeology of the NW Roman provinces and Roman acculturation, villas and rural settlement.’ Dr Miles Russell, Bournemouth University

‘This report is one of the building blocks for the study of Roman Britain. It sets high standards for others to follow.’ Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, Oxford University

Table of Contents (B676_Ladle_9781407360010_-_ToC.pdf, 312 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B676_Ladle_9781407360010_-_Introduction.pdf, 3,380 Kb) [Download]