Roman Houses

Houses were either exclusively residential or could be mixed to incorporate workshops and street front shops with living quarters. Buildings were usually built of timber, wattle and daub, stone or brick depending on the amount of wealth the owner or tenant had and the availability of materials. The finish of the walls can be shown by the presence of plaster, in some cases painted. The plaster would have helped keep the walls weather-proof, and internally might have helped with lighting if whitewashed.

Most houses were laid out in a ‘strip’ form with the narrow end fronting the street. These were expanded by adding rooms or wings in whichever direction was possible and some eventually became compound houses and these were more particular to Britain. Examples at Dorchester and Caerwent. Courtyard houses were more common in other areas of the empire and consisted of an arrangement of four wings around a colonnaded courtyard, built as a whole for the elite members of society, less than a half dozen are confirmed in Britain.

Rooms within houses would have included bedrooms (cubicula); dinning suits (triclinia); kitchens; study; storeroom and so on. However the number and arrangement is very difficult to determine without a high level of archaeological preservation and some rooms may have had multiple functions. For the most part furniture would have been of wood or basketry which does not survive, although iron and metal nails, handles, hinges and the like do hint at the remains.

Locations of Roman Housess in Roman Britain