Roman Villas - How the Other Half Lived at Fishbourne Roman Palace


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Villas were one of the major features of the Romano-British landscape and remain a constant source of fascination and debate: farms or great houses? British landowners or absentee landlords? The place of these establishments in the life of Roman Britain is still uncertain.

Fishbourne and Bignor in Sussex are two very different examples of Romano-British villas.

The great palace at Fishbourne was founded with rich mosaics and decoration very early on, before being abandoned after a fire in the 3rd Century AD. Here we will look at the site and its mosaics - considering the competing (sometimes controversial) theories put forward to explain this remarkable and elaborate complex, which would not be out of place in Italy. In contrast, Bignor Villa has a more typical development, beginning as a small farming establishment and growing into a great courtyard villa with elaborate mosaics by the 4th Century AD.

Opulence, grandeur and wealth - these two villas had it all!

Tour highlights:

  • See some of the finest Roman mosaics in Britain, like the gladiator mosaic from Bignor Roman villa
  • The latest theories about villas explained by your expert guide
  • Chance to view and handle artifacts from the great Roman Palace of Fishbourne
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