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Other Roman Remains


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Whether buried traces of similar Roman dwellings have ever existed on other sides of the town it is impossible to say, but it is scarcely probable, as the south-western side, with its slope to the river, would be the most pleasant and most natural direction in which the wealthier citizens would build their ornamental and luxurious residences.

Remains of Roman pottery and glass cinerary vessels have been found, however, in a north-easterly direction as far as the site of the Abbey; while beyond the river banks in the Braunstone Gate, and near the Branch Free Library beyond, they frequently occur, proving the extent of the suburbs in both these directions.

The Roman walls, indeed, were unlike the later mediaeval ones in this respect, that they were originally built to protect the garrison from the conquered and more or less disaffected natives instead, like those erected in the Middle Ages, of being intended to keep at bay an outward and occasional foe.

But later on, mutual goodwill and confidence having rendered these defences less necessary as a protection to the Roman soldiery and citizens, we have reason to suppose that the villas of the latter scattered themselves by degrees over the face of the western declivity outside the walls.

For a spectator looking towards the town from the opposite side of the river below the West Bridge it is possible, even with today's built up surroundings, to imagine a picture of stately buildings whose wooded gardens sloped down to the clear stream, commanding a view of the more distant suburbs which stretched westwards over the gently rising ground as far as the borders of the forest that still surrounded the town.

Outside the south wall near the present Newarke Street the discovery of a number of human bones has led to the conclusion that this spot was a burial ground in the Roman period, though the presence of glass cinerary urns in all parts of the town indicates the custom of private burial also. A brick or pottery field is believed to have existed in some part of the district between the present London and Welford Roads, where many of the plain but beautifully-shaped amphorae and other vessels commonly in use were probably fashioned.

The choicer Samian ware, with its fine colour and surface and delicate mouldings, of which we possess many beautiful fragments in the Museum, was most likely imported from Rome or the Isle of Samos, although by some it is thought to have been a skilful local imitation.

Among the Roman remains in the Town Museum is preserved a very solid but elegantly-shaped stone tank, which was found many years since at the upper end of High Cross Street, and probably formed the basin of one of the public drinking-fountains at which the Roman women filled their jars for home consumption.

As an indication of the sanitary arrangements of the town there is said to be evidence of a public main sewer passing beneath it from east to west, with which the house drains communicated.

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