chapter  4
THE IDEA OF THE TOWN
Pages 23

In the Later Iron Age oppida had emerged in Britain. Few of them have evidence amounting to the dense nucleated sites of La Tène and Augustan Gaul, Silchester perhaps being an exception, but the term has been adopted and has become common usage. The fi rst of these was probably at Hengistbury Head on the south coast, but in the late fi rst century BC new ‘royal sites’ emerged, such as Verulamium, Silchester and Camulodunum, producing coins with the settlement names inscribed on them together with those of kings. However, the character of these political centres was transformed in the generations following the Claudian conquest. From very shortly after the annexation, recognisably ‘Roman’ towns began to appear in the landscape. Regular street patterns enclosed and framed new types of buildings in which to dispense justice, sacrifi ce or bathe. This happened very rapidly in some places, with the development of Verulamium, Londinium and Camulodunum, only for them to become signifi cant targets of disaffection during the Boudican revolt of AD 60/1. However, this setback did not stifl e ‘progress’ for long, and the Flavian period saw the construction of fora and other new monuments all over southeast Britain.