The Roman Villa and farming.

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As mentioned in the first project, prior to the Roman invasion, the British mainly worked on the land.  Many people supported themselves by working on the land, either as a farm worker or by owning their own land.  However, the farms were not the big commercial enterprises we see today with crops, livestock and produce sold to make a profit.  The farms in Roman Britain primarily supported the farmer and the workers and if there was any surplus that was sold at market.

The farmer and his family lived in circular houses that consisted of just one room.  In this one room they would cook, eat and sleep and even keep animals.  If they had slaves that worked on the farm, the slaves had a smaller version of the circular house and these houses were spread out around the farm.

The farmer would have grown crops similar to ones we find today, like barley, oats and wheat.  Farms would also have kept animals that would have included cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs and horses.  There would have also been hens and geese.  Not only were these animals used for food they would have also provided materials for clothes – wool and leather. The horses would have been there only means of transport.

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After the Romans invaded Britain, British farmers began to learn Roman ways and a very significant change was the farmhouse. Instead of the dark, smelly one room house, the British farmer now built himself a farmhouse based on the Roman model, more like Roman villas.  These also included many out houses for storing the farm produce and providing shelter for the slaves.  Only the wealthy farmers could afford to build themselves such grand houses and many of the poorer farmers were forced off the land and moved into the city.  Bignor Roman Villa is an excellent example of ...

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