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Open Settlement in Southern Britain Predates Roman Arrival

Monday, July 13, 2015

England Dorset DuropolisDORSET, ENGLAND—A geophysical survey conducted by a team from the University of Bournemouth has located 150 roundhouses and other features in a prehistoric town named Duropolis, after the Durotriges, a local Iron Age tribe. Sixteen roundhouses in the settlement have been excavated so far. “What we’ve discovered is extremely significant for the whole of Southern Britain because in the past archaeologists have tended to look at really obvious sites, like the big hill-fort of Maiden Castle, near Dorchester. What we have here is an extensive open settlement, not a hillfort, so it wasn’t visible as a settlement from the earthwork on the landscape. What we’ve discovered is one of the earliest and largest open settlements in Britain,” archaeologist Miles Russell said in a press release. It had been thought that before the arrival of the Romans, most people in Britain lived in protected hillforts. The team also uncovered the bones of animals whose body parts had been rearranged to form hybrid beasts, grinding stones, spindle whorls, and metal working debris. To read about recent work at England's largest hillfort, go to "Ham Hill's Violent History."

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