Bichrome Beaker with pink-brown colour-coat over base and matt black elsewhere,  white barbotine decoration, AD250-370
Temples and Suburbs

Temples and Suburbs

Excavations at Tabard Square, Southwark

Killock, D, Shepherd, J, Gerrard, J, Hayward, K, Rielly, K and Ridgeway, V

"The excavators and
the various authors, led at all stages by Douglas Killock are to be congratulated for salvaging
as much as they have. Congratulations are also due to Pre-Construct Archaeology for making
possible a volume with such high production values in the clarity of the layout and the
consistent use of colour for plans and photographs. This publication has been awarded The
London Archaeological Prize for 2016 by London Archaeologist."

...from the Transactions of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society. from the review by Simon Esmonde Cleary to appear in an edition later this year. Read the full review here

Temples and Suburbs: Excavations at Tabard Square, SouthwarkExcavations at Tabard Square in 2002 transformed our perceptions of Londinium’s ritual landscape and refined our understanding of Southwark’s prehistoric and Roman topography. Hearths and associated scatters of worked flint attest to the temporary camps which characterised Southwark’s channel edges from Late Glacial or early Post-Glacial times. Set between Borough Channel and Watling Street, the approach road to Londinium from ports to the south-east, the site occupies a strategic location adjacent to the Roman crossing point across Southwark’s islands to the settlement on the north bank. Following extensive drainage and reclamation the earliest buildings here were domestic structures of clay and timber, well-appointed and with finely-executed painted plaster schemes.

But it is as the location of a major temple complex that this site is best known. The mid second century saw a transformation of the landscape as domestic buildings were levelled and a large gravelled precinct constructed, with two Romano-Celtic temples, numerous plinths, altars and columns. An inscribed marble plaque, the first found to mention ‘Londoners’ (Londiniensi) suggests that at least one of these buildings was dedicated to Mars Camulus. The complex was modified and embellished through time, a dividing wall and possible portico were constructed in the third century, setting each temple building within its own precinct. By the fourth century the precinct had contracted to a small enclosed area, with an enigmatic winged building set to the south-east.

Amongst the finds recovered from the ditch defining the precinct’s eastern extent were numerous, deliberately punctured, complete flagons and other vessels. One of two tin-alloy canisters found contained a greasy preparation, most probably used for lightening the complexion, still bearing the finger marks of its last user. 

Publication Details

Hardback: 350 pages, colour throughout
Publish Date: 2015
Language: English
ISBN: 978-0-9926672-5-2
Dimensions: 29.8 x 21.2 x 1.0 cmS
Price: £27
Available from Oxbow Books or direct from PCA

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