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Roman houses prove early London importance

ENGINEERS HAVE identified large Roman town houses that confirm for the first time that London was a big settlement in early Roman Britain, it emerged this week.

Previous theories claim that the Romans had only used London as a small military outpost after invading Britain in AD 43.

Arup Associates engineer Andrew Lawrence examined the Roman chalk foundations found at British Land's 0.8ha office development site near London's Fenchurch Street.

These indicate that large Roman town houses were built in London shortly after the Roman invasion.

'We helped the archaeologist by testing the chalk foundations to establish the weight of building that could be supported on it.

We believe it's the first time engineering earth monitoring equipment was used for archaeological reasons, ' said Lawrence.

'We've also been looking at the remains to build up evidence of large structures.'

The excavation also shows timber reinforced earth ramparts and defensive ditches were built immediately after the Boadacean Revolt of 61AD.

'This shows that reinforced earth has been in use for at least 2,000 years and is not a recent innovation, ' said Lawrence.

The findings of the two-year dig will now be exhibited and the excavation destroyed as piles are driven in for the office development which is being built by Skanska.

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