The Roman villas at the edge of the empire are endlessly fascinating. They show the process of Romanisation at the cutting edge, as well as what was clearly a belief in the permanence of the Roman system. One of the most northern such villas in Britain is at Quarry Farm by Ingleby Barwick, on Teeside, south of Hadrian's Wall. A report last week in the Evening Gazette:
The results [of the excavation] are internationally important as the Ingleby Barwick site is one of the most northerly surviving Roman villas in the Roman Empire.
Although the principal building of the villa was not excavated, the surrounding structures including a bath house, barn, mill and several corn-driers were very well preserved and allowed a detailed picture of life on Roman Teesside to be painted.
One of the biggest surprises at the villa site was a small building to the east of the main complex with an under floor heating system usually associated with bath houses or steam rooms.