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VENTA ICENORUM

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  VENTOR ROMAN TOWN, CAISTOR ST EDMUND
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A Roman civitas capital with defensive walls, extra mural settlement and asssociated features and structures. It was described by Ptolemy in the second century as the one noteworthy town of the Iceni. The civitas capital was founded about AD 70 on the site of a larger Iron Age and Romano-British settlement. It was laid out with streets and insulae on a grid pattern and became an important trade centre, its increasing wealth reflected by the presence of early second century masonry houses containing painted wall plaster and major public buildings including the forum and basilica complex and public baths. By the 3rd century the town had reduced in size and enclosed with walls, each side accessed by a central gate with bastions. The excavations have also located evidence for industrial processes including glass making within the settlement.

Cropmarks to the south of the walls and to the west of the River Tas indicate the presence of extra mural settlement, an amphitheatre and a late Roman cemetery. Further to the south are ditches and enclosures thought to be Roman and earlier in date, which represent landuse adjacent to the settlement. Excavations have also recorded 5th-6th century sunken floored buildings and artefacts dating to the 7th-8th century indicating occupation continued until the 8th century.

Two Palaeolithic hand axes have been recovered as surface finds from the site.

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