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18 May 2016

At www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/how-london-became-britain… … one first has to wonder if Londinium was the capital of Britannia (rather than south east Britain) but assuming they are referring to something tangible, it is worth taking this at face value. We do know that Colchester was originally the capital of the Trinovantes (three rivers, or the Essex coast and hinterland) and they had made an alliance with the Romans at one  stage against their enemies the Catevellauni (whose  capital at one time was St Albans/Verulamium). However, it is also true that under Cunobelinus the Catevellauni had expanded and absorbed the Trinovantes and moved their capital to Colchester, which presumably was the situation at the time of the invasion of Claudius. It was Caesar that took advantage of the friction between the Trinovantes and Catevellauni, a hundred years earlier. On that interpretation the Claudian link to Colchester as a major military base was in order to control the combined kingdom of the Catevellauni and Trinovantes (by seizing their capital) as it is notable that the Catevellauni was their major opponent, Caractacus and all that. Once the Romans had installed a compliant ruler over the Trinovantes and Catevellauni, a younger brother of Caractacus, there was no neccessity for Colchester to be the main focus of Roman rule. As far as is known there is no evidence this part of Britain ever posed a threat again once Caractacus and his henchmen had been dealt with. The landscape was clear for an entirely new city, Londinium, without any tribal afiliation, to become the capital.

Having said that the Independent report begins to make sense and the author probably knew all this anyway. He continues by saying Londinium was located at the first available site where a bridge and  safe crossing over the Thames occurred (near modern London Bridge), and it was an ideal port with easy access to the continent. The Romans built a series of radiating roads that could quickly transport troops to areas of friction anywhere in Britannia (such as Watling Street which crossed the heartland territory of the Catevellauni). Inother words, another sniff of rebellion by a client kingdom would have been put down very quickly.

The report comes about as archaeologists have discovered a large Roman fort built in the aftermath of Boudicca just west of Mincing Lane, 230m from the bridge over the Thames.

At www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/archaeology/art553920-suffolk-… …. excavations preceding building work at a school in Bury St Edmunds has uncovered some interesting medieval finds. As in many other places the town grew up around an abbey and cloisters as a market place at the gates. At a later stage the abbot had the town laid out as pilgrims to the shrine of St Edmunds represented a significant source of wealth.

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