Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 543–549 | Cite as

Condiments before Claudius: new plant foods at the Late Iron Age oppidum at Silchester, UK

  • Lisa LodwickEmail author
Original Article


Our understanding of the introduction and adoption of new plant foods in Roman Britain is currently limited by a lack of data from a group of Late Iron Age settlements commonly referred to as oppida (large pre-Roman towns). This paper presents the first evidence of several imported plant foods from Late Iron Age Britain in the form of waterlogged plant remains from the oppidum at Silchester. These were recovered from the basal contexts of two wells, dated to the early first century a.d. One olive stone and several seeds of celery, coriander and dill were identified. The results are compared to archaeobotanical data from elsewhere in Britain and northwestern Europe, demonstrating that Silchester is part of the wider phenomenon of the adoption of new flavourings and fruits in Late Iron Age Europe.


Condiments Late Iron Age Britain Roman Britain Oppida Silchester 



I would like to thank the excavation directors, Mike Fulford and Amanda Clarke, University of Reading, who gave me the opportunity to study these samples. I am grateful to my supervisor Mark Robinson for his help on the identification and his comments on this paper, to Alison Crowther for discussion and comments on the text and to the reviewers and editor for their helpful comments. Funding was provided to the author by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and for the Silchester ‘Town Life’ Project by the Headley Trust.

Supplementary material

334_2013_407_MOESM1_ESM.xls (30 kb)
Data table of waterlogged plant remains. Supplementary material 1 (XLS 30 kb)
334_2013_407_MOESM2_ESM.doc (142 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 141 kb)
334_2013_407_MOESM3_ESM.doc (61 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 61 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Archaeology, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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