Rockbourne Villa


Rockbourne Roman Villa is a Roman courtyard villa excavated and put on public display in the village of Rockbourne in the English county of Hampshire. The villa was discovered in 1942 by a local farmer and excavated by A. T. Morley Hewitt over the next thirty years.

RIB 98 - Milestone of Carinus

For Marcus Aurelius Karinus, most noble Caesar.


RIB: In type it resembles a milestone, but its association with a villa situated nearly 5 km from the neighbouring Roman roads made it unlikely that it was a milestone. For the difference see introduction to Milestones.There is no trace of a fourth line. Karinus, or Carinus, son of Carus, was nob. Caes. A.D. 282-3. Addenda from RIB+add. (1995): Two third-century milestones have since been found re-used in the Rockbourne villa (Wright, JRS 52 (1962), 195 No. 23; JRS lvi (1966), 219 No. 9); this too should be seen as a milestone.

A Potted History of the Emperor Carinus

Carinus became joint emperor with his younger brother Numerian in spring 283AD upon the death of their father the emperor Carus, who was “struck by lightning” near Ctesiphon the Persian capital. He became sole ruler when his younger brother Numerian was murdered by his praetorian prefect Lucius Flavius Aper near Nicomedia in November 284, and in celebration embarked on a reign of debauchery, forcing himself upon young men and women of many noble families. He was to enjoy unlimited imperial power only until the summer of 285 when he was himself murdered by his own generals during the course of the battle against Diocletian at the River Margus (now known as the Morava near modern Belgrade). Carinus must have campaigned in Britain sometime during 284, as he is known to have taken the victory title Britannicus Maximus in that year.

Other Roman Sites in the Neighbourhood

There is another villa about miles to the north-east at Downton (SU1821), and there are potteries in the New Forest to the south-east at Linwood (SU1910), Sloden (SU2114) and Oakley (SU2406).

References for Rockbourne

  • Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001);
  • Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (Thames & Hudson, London, 1995);
  • The Roman Inscriptions of Britain by R.G. Collingwood and R.P. Wright (Oxford 1965).

Map References for Rockbourne

NGRef: SU1217 OSMap: LR184

Roman Roads near Rockbourne

NNE (7) to Sorviodvnvm SSW (14) to Vindocladia

Sites near Rockbourne Villa