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Romano-British
   
Courtyard House Settlement
Salt Making Site
 
 
    Romano-British menu
AD 43 to 410
 
 
Courtyard House   Courtyard House Settlement
Courtyard houses are only found in the far west of Cornwall. They consist of a large open courtyard defined by a massive drystone wall with structures built around the perimeter. Usually a large round or oval dwelling-house faces the entrance and lean-to structures occupy the walls along either side. These ‘long rooms’ are sometimes sub-divided and are interpreted as stores, barns and byres. They seem to be a peculiarly localised response to changes taking place during the Romano-British period.
 
Sat-making Site   Salt Making Site
Quantities of coarsely made local pottery eroding from a cliff on the Lizard were the first indications of a Romano-British salt making industry in Cornwall. The salt was obtained by evaporation of sea water in shallow pans set above a flue. Since the initial discovery at Trebarveth a number of other similar sites have been recognised on the Lizard, for instance above Ebber Rocks to the north of Black Head, but not, to date, in other parts of the county.
 
 
Romano-British period


Many of the larger enclosures and hillforts are abandoned during the first century AD, as Roman legions consolidate their hold on southern Britain, and march westwards to establish the fortress at Exeter. Cornwall is incorporated into this new administrative area or 'civitas' but there are few observable impacts on the everyday lives of the common people.
 
Only two military forts are known, Nanstallon west of Bodmin, on the River Camel and Restormel overlooking the River Fowey. Their positions at the navigable limits of these two rivers may indicate that troops and trade moved predominantly by sea, and helps to explain the lack of fortlets and marching camps.

Most smaller settlements and 'rounds' continue to be occupied and new settlements develop. Excavations indicate that the natives were able to enjoy a range of goods imported from the continent as well as from distant parts of Britain.

Though remaining essentially Celtic in character Cornish society changed during the 350 years of the Roman occupation. A monetary economy is established, and trading links  consolidated and extended. Finds of high quality decorative pottery, coin hoards and expensive high status metalwork suggest that, though unsophisticated by Roman provincial standards, Cornwall is by no means impoverished.

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supported by HLF and compiled by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council  
last updated: 05/09/2007