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Weald Iron Industry  
   
Practically every Romano-British site so far investigated in the Sussex Weald has been connected to the iron industry in some way. The significant reserves of iron ore, already well tapped in the late Iron Age, were now more intensively exploited, with a large number of iron working sites such as Beauport Park and Broadfield. The usual practice in early imperial times seems to have been for mineral extraction to be placed in the hands of the official Roman state, so that the mineral-rich regions of newly conquered territories would be made into imperial estates. These were either governed directly by the Roman state, or in the case of less valuable or less productive zones, by private entrepreneurs, who would then pay royalties to the state.

Stamped tile of the Classis Britannica from TicehurstIt is quite likely that the whole Weald became a Roman imperial estate, and there are two distinct zones, perhaps representing the different administrative systems. The richer area to the east contained large numbers of iron working sites, mostly starting production from the mid 1st century AD. This early date together with stamps of the Roman naval fleet ('Classis Britannica':See Military) found at sites such as Bodiam and Beauport Park, suggest direct imperial control, with the products presumably transported by sea. Further to the west, surrounding the major road systems to London and south, were another group of iron working sites, with a generally more extended period of use. These may well have been run by private organisations as franchise operations from the state.