Sites & cities that bear the name of Calleva Atrebatum

Calleva Atrebatum

Today in : United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
First trace of activity : ca. 1st century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 7th century C.E
Recorded names : Silchester Roman Town

Description : Calleva Atrebatum ("Calleva of the Atrebates") was originally an Iron Age settlement, capital of the Atrebates tribe, and subsequently a town in the Roman province of Britannia. Its ruins lie to the west of, and partly beneath, the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Silchester, in the county of Hampshire. The church occupies a site just within the ancient walls of Calleva, although the village of Silchester itself now lies about a mile (1.6 km) to the west. Unusually for a tribal capital in Britain, the Iron Age town was situated on the same site as the later Roman town, although the layout was revised. Celtic Beginnings The Celtic name "Calleva Atrebatum" can be translated to 'woody place'. The settlement was surrounded by dense woodlands that were used for fuel and to build structures. Because of its convenient location, it was a center of trading both within Britain and with civilizations across the Channel and as far away as the Mediterranean. Iron Age The Late Iron Age settlement at Silchester has been revealed by archaeology and coins of the British Q series to link Silchester with the seat of power of the Atrebates. Coins found stamped with "COMMIOS" show that Commius, king of the Atrebates, established his territory and mint here after moving from Gaul. The oppidum was situated on the edge of a gravel plateau, underlying the subsequent Roman town. The Inner Earthwork, constructed c. 1 AD, enclosed an area of 32 hectares, and a more extensive series of defensive earthworks was built in the wider area. Small areas of Late Iron Age occupation have been uncovered on the south side of the Inner Earthwork and around the South Gate. More detailed evidence for Late Iron Age occupation was excavated below the Forum-Basilica. Several roundhouses, wells and pits occupy a north-east - south-west alignment, dated to c. 25 BC - 15 BC. Subsequent occupation, dated to c. 15 BC - AD 40/50, consisted of metalled streets, rubbish pits and palisaded enclosures. Imported Gallo-Belgic finewares, amphorae and iron and copper-alloy brooches show that the settlement was "high status". Also distinctive evidence for food was identified, including oyster shell, a large briquetage assemblage and sherds from amphorae which would have contained olive oil, fish sauce and wine. Further areas of Late Iron Age occupation have been uncovered by the Insula IX 'Town Life' Project which has revealed a substantial boundary ditch c. 40 - 20 BC, a large rectangular hall c. 25 BC - AD 10 and the laying out of lanes and new property divisions c. AD 10 - 40/50. Archaeobotanical studies have demonstrated the import and consumption of celery, coriander and olive in Insula IX prior to the Claudian Conquest.

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