The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning

Large sea-going ships were unloaded into busy warehouses beside the river Thames. Goods were probably traded by the rich merchants on the waterfront. There would also have been customs officials on hand to check the consignments. When the deals had been done, they loaded up smaller river boats, which would have taken goods further inland along Britain's rivers, or packed the crates, sacks and baskets into wagons and onto pack animals to be sent by road to towns in the province. The roads leading out of London were important as they enabled the goods to be transported more easily throughout the Greater London area. However, it would have been a slow journey and they would have needed places to stay as they travelled along the roads and roadside settlements were able to provide food and places to rest.

Many goods and foodstuffs were imported into London from all parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. Expensive ceramic dinner services (samian) came from France and glass vessels from Germany and Italy. Marble for building came from Greece and Turkey, emeralds for jewellery from Egypt, silk from China and pepper from India. Large pottery containers (amphorae) contained wine from Italy, France and Greece. Fish sauce and olive oil came from France and Spain and large wooden barrels containing wine came from Germany. Smaller amphorae contained dried fruits from North Africa.

Transport & trade in Roman London continues on the next page...