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Trading Systems
The annexation of Gaul brought the Roman Empire into more or less direct contact with Southern Britain. Prior to this, trading routes with Rome had mostly come up around the Armorican peninsular (Brittany, France) towards central Southern Britain - most notably Hengistbury Head in Dorset. During this period, Dressel 1a amphorae, such as the one illustrated here, were imported into Britain.
After the Gallic conquest, the axis of trade shifted eastwards, from Belgic (north-east) Gaul to the regions of Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire, with a few powerful rulers probably controlling the movement of high status Roman goods. Compared to these areas, there have been relatively few Roman imports found in pre-conquest Sussex, although trade routes undoubtedly existed, possibly focused through Selsey.

The close proximity of Rome ensured that new trading systems were developed, with goods being bought and sold for currency. Although it was far from being a market economy, the production of low value bronze coins in the 1st century AD probably signalled the start of the widespread use of money.
Dressel 1a Amphora
Dressel 1a Amphora


The Growth of Industry
Iron Age pots from Park BrowThe late Iron Age in south-eastern Britain saw many areas of production become more centralised and efficient. The rich iron field sites of the Weald began to be exploited, with Goffs Park, Crawley, producing two of the earliest cylindrical shaft smelting furnaces in Britain, indicating that ironworking was carried out on a large scale.

Pottery production was also more centralised, with products deriving from a few sites, such as Chelwood Gate in the High Weald, probably being used over a wide area. In West Sussex, wheel-turned vessels began to appear, using raw materials from the lower Greensand.