Roman settlement in Ipplepen

Roman settlement in Ipplepen

In 2010 the University of Exeter, the British Museum and Devon County Council started a survey and excavation that aimed to explore the nature of this Roman and early medieval British site. Ipplepen is remarkable in that both metal detecting and excavations have produced an unusually large amount of material, suggesting that the site may be more than just a typical rural community.

When the Romans landed in AD 43 they had a large impact upon many places in Britain. However, up until recently scholars in Romano-British history had not thought that Devon was to be included in these places.

However, after the discovery of Ipplepen all of these assumptions are now being challenged. One of the most striking features of Ipplepen is the degree it shows of Roman influence. For instance, to date around 150 Roman coins have been recorded. The coins range from a Republican denarius of 49 BC to nummi of Arcadius, dating to AD 383-408. A further investigation has now turned into the excavation. These coins not only show the Roman influence present in Ipplepen, but also that Ipplepen was part of the wider Roman economy, stretching all the way back to Rome itself.

Another imposing Roman feature present in Ipplepen which may have once been thought out of place in such a rural area is the Roman road which runs through the settlement.

Roman-style pottery was found in Ipplepen. Not only can local ware be found on site but also finer examples of Samian ware which is of a higher quality and imported from the continent. Near to the road was found a large un-abraded sherd of imported Samian ware (AD 1st-2nd century). This was stamped with a makers mark, AUC, which archaeologists were able to trace back to France AD 150-180. Together with the amphora, the pottery evidence shows that luxury goods were being imported from the continent and the wider Roman empire.

The 2019 excavation at Ipplepen was the last, and the field stage of the project has now ended.

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Ipplepen Village, Devon, Community Information