New Books in ArchaeologyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Italian StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & Society April 18, 2019 Mark Klobas
From its humble beginnings as a crossing point over the river Thames Londinium grew into the largest city in Roman Britain. In Londinium: A Biography (Bloomsbury, 2018), Richard Hingley draws upon the latest archaeological discoveries to provide a look at the growth and development of London over the first centuries of its existence. Though typically thought of as a community established by Roman conquerors, Hingley describes the recently discovered artifacts that point to an Iron Age prehistory of human activity in the area. This may have recommended the location to the Romans, who established a town there which thrived until it was burned to the ground by Boudica’s forces in 60 CE. Its rapid recovery from both this and another destructive conflagration a few decades later demonstrated the importance of the site to the Romans, who by the second century CE made Londinium into the preeminent center for administration and commerce on the island. Hingley shows how recent archaeological evidence has helped us better understand life in the city in the two centuries that followed, as well as how it is changing our understanding of the timeline for its decline and abandonment with the collapse of the western Roman Empire in the 5th century CE.