Britannia – the failed state – Part 4: Ethnic conflict, financial meltdown and the last years of Roman Britain

BEHIND THE TIMES

Ethnic conflict, financial meltdown and the last years of Roman Britain

Sometime
around 370 there was a marked change in Roman Britain’s economic indicators.
This is most obvious in what had been one of the most prosperous areas: the
region immediately to the south of Cirencester. There was a sudden rush of coin
hoarding in a line between the Avon and Southampton with the additional
complication that coins may have become worthless. Furthermore, a line of
villas in the area show signs of burning at some point between 335 and 380.

The two acclaimed
mosaic schools at Cirencester and Dorchester did not flourish after 370 and
there are extensive signs of ‘squatter occupation’ – or, more likely, refugee
encampments. The coin deposit rate is such that it can only mean a large-scale
displacement of people.

The New
Forest’s pottery industry had been huge in the first half of the fourth

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