Worcester Magistrates Court: excavation of Romano-British homes and industry at Castle Street

Worcester, like many historic cities, has had its share of undistinguished 20th-century development. As this has come up for redevelopment, it has afforded numerous opportunities for archaeological investigations, which have revealed the city’s Roman origins. Roman Worcester developed on the road up the Severn Valley. It was a sprawling, unpretentious settlement, with an emphasis on making iron. This comprehensive report (20 years in the making!) describes the findings from a site on the periphery of the Roman occupation. Simple wooden buildings, associated with a large amount of pottery, were involved in light industrial activities, including iron smithing rather than the more common smelting found elsewhere in Worcester. But why was iron ore from the Forest of Dean brought to Worcester to be processed? Surely it would have been more economic to do that nearer to the ore fields? Worcester may be another example of the (to us) apparent irrationality of the Roman provincial economy.

Worcester Magistrates Court: excavation of Romano-British homes and industry at Castle Street, Andy Boucher, BAR Publishing, £54, ISBN 978-1407357041.
Review by Neil Holbrook.
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