A nation of villa-builders

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The Independent Online

Well, what did the Romans ever do for us? The latest evidence suggests that they came over here and built great big villas in our green belt. We suspect they must have shifted a few backhanders into the tunics of the imperial planning authorities - a development of that size, 8,300 square metres: quite out of character in relation to existing wattle-and-daub properties.

Well, what did the Romans ever do for us? The latest evidence suggests that they came over here and built great big villas in our green belt. We suspect they must have shifted a few backhanders into the tunics of the imperial planning authorities - a development of that size, 8,300 square metres: quite out of character in relation to existing wattle-and-daub properties.

Not only that, but the lifestyle of the inhabitants suggests that they were retired gladiators or musicians. No remains of satellite dishes have been found, but there were some "imported fine Gallic tableware" and fishy amphorae which were just as alien to the local ambience. Not to mention the heated indoor pools.

The owners were alleged to be a "wealthy Romano-British family". Typical incomers, flaunting their money and getting in front of us in the lottery queue with their 50 tickets at the local post office. Further research reveals that this lot were probably more British than Romano - most Roman villas were owned by local quislings. So that is what the Romans did for us: they taught us how to get invaded and still end up in the ruling class. That was a skill worth having.

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