Cunetio: In October 1978 a huge hoard of Roman coins was found
by metal detectorists in Black Field at Mildenhall, just west of Ramsbury. This was known to be the site of the Roman military station Cunetio. The hoard comprised over 55,000 coins, weighing 3½ cwt,
and was in an earthenware jar and lead box. See "Black Field yields Roman 'mint'" - Marlborough
Times, 20 Oct 1978, The hoard was later declared "Treasure Trove". See "Treasure
Trove verdict on Roman jackpot" - Marlborough Times, 6 April 1979.
Nearby Roman roads: A branch off the road at Wickham, took a
westerly route towards Aquae Sulis (Bath). Its line can still be traced passing Orpenham Farm, Clapton and Radley, to the junction of Wantage Road with Gipsy Lane (Folly Crossing) just north of
Hungerford. From here its exact position is not clear, but it continued its westerly course, fording the river between Hungerford and Chilton Foliat, and then ran on the southern bank until it
reached the military station of Cunetio (Mildenhall), where several roads met.
Roman buildings at Littlecote: At Littlecote Park, a mile to the west of Hungerford, excavations
in the early 1980s rediscovered the famous Orpheus mosaic, which was originally found in 1730, but covered soon after by the owner of the estate to avoid publicity. The mosaic, which is itself very
unusual in this part of the Roman Empire, lies in an elaborate chamber at the end of one wing of an extensive Roman building. Follow the link to Littlecote for much more on this important Roman villa.
Roman field systems on Hungerford Common: Evidence of Roman field systems have been found on Hungerford Common following an extensive and detailed survey carried
out in 2005 as part of the Urban Commons Project by English Heritage.
The end of the Roman occupation of Britain: The Roman occupation of Britain lasted nearly four hundred years.
During the fourth century there were repeated incursions by the Picts and Scots, as well as invasions from across the Channel by the Saxons. The first decade of the fifth
century saw Roman imperial frontiers progressively failing under the pressure of various uprisings, especially in Europe. In response, the army in Britain set up its own emperor Constantine III, but
while he was on the Continent with the island's army, repelling invading barbarians and quelling renegade Gauls, he left Britain vulnerable to attack. Raids by Saxon pirates in their emperor's
absence led the British to reject his authority. In 411 Constantine III was finally defeated and killed in southern Gaul.
In 406 the Roman troops in Britain were transferred back to the continent, and when Rome itself sacked by the Visigoths (an East Germanic tribe) in 410, the imperial
authorities were too weak to re-impose control in Britain. By 410 the withdrawal was complete.
The occupation had lasted the equivalent of 12 generations - the same span of time from Queen Elizabeth I to the present day. Despite this, the Britons themselves appear
to have learned little about government and organization.
Appeals went to Rome for reconsideration of the evacuation, but the empire was collapsing, there were greater problems elsewhere, and the last appeal dated 446 was ignored
like the others before. British history drifted reluctantly into the period known as the Dark Ages, although recent knowledge and research is shedding some light upon it.
- "Black Field yields Roman 'mint'" - Marlborough Times, 20 Oct 1978,
- "Treasure Trove verdict on Roman jackpot" - Marlborough Times, 6 Apr
- Prehistoric Hungerford
Back to Top