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Fishbourne Palace

954 of 1157 nominations

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Fishbourne Palace

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Fishbourne Palace

In 1960, workmen digging a ditch for a water main, discovered a spectacular Roman building at Fishbourne in West Sussex. While many Roman villas had been previously found in England, the Fishbourne site turned out to be a true palace. Around the size of Buckingham Palace, it had underfloor heating, a separate bathhouse, and 50 rooms with mosaics. Fishbourne must have been one of the most luxurious buildings in the whole Roman Empire.

The palace was built in the late first century AD, during the earliest period of Roman occupation. The first question facing archaeologists was, "Who lived there?" Barry Cunliffe, who led the excavation, suggested that it belonged to Cogidubnus, pro-Roman king of the local British tribe. The Romans may have built the palace for the king as a reward for his help during their invasion. If it did belong to Cogidubnus, he must have been overwhelmed when he first saw it for, before the Romans came, British kings had lived in small thatched roundhouses.

The palace, which is open to the public, is still being excavated today, and new discoveries continue to be made there.

Photo: Fishbourne Roman Palace – Sussex Past

NOMINATION 954 OF 1157

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Because it is an exemplifier of all that would become available of those benefits of the highly civilised life which the Romans could offer the woad-wearing, foot-fighting Brittani.

John E. Crane


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My nomination is the garden shed.

FELICITY HAGUE

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