The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning

When the town was evacuated, Londoners must have only been able to take what they could carry. They may have hidden some of their valuables hoping to they would still be there. Otherwise, they just left everything behind. Imagine what they found when they returned – everything had gone and their houses, shops and businesses had been left to burn. Archaeologists find the burnt layer that not only shows the size of the town but also clues to the buildings that existed in that early town.

During excavations in 1994 at Poultry in the City of London, archaeologists found that one building had only been built a year before it was destroyed by the Boudican fire in AD60. The building was made of wattle and daub, walls of woven sticks coated with clay, and covered with plaster. It consisted of a shop with a store room and living area. The shop fronted onto the street and had removable shutters (like at Pompeii) that allowed the customer to step straight from the pavement into the shop. The contents of the shop were found on the floor where shelves had collapsed in the fire.

It must have been a higher quality shop. There was pottery and herbs and spices that were imported into London – they had been brought from elsewhere in the Roman Empire. Archaeologists also found a wooden writing tablet in the burnt rubbish outside the building and, as elsewhere in London, grain was found burnt that had been stored to await being ground into flour.