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3. Civilian Settlement

Following the military occupation of an area the road system was improved, making an increase in civilian settlement possible. Small villages, called "vici", were established within easy reach of a fortress, usually along side roads. Soldiers` families lived here as well as many crafts- and tradesmen who supplied the military with all its needs.

These villages remained even after the border was advanced and troops withdrawn. Larger and more influential cities, such as Rottweil (Arae Flaviae) and Rottenburg (Sumelocenna) were developed.

Diorama Rottenburg
City scene from a Diorama in the Sumelocenna Museum in Rottenburg.

One of the most important forms of settlement at this time was the lone farming estate, known as a Villa Rustica.
These estates were usually located on a slightly downhill slope, often close to a larger settlement or an important trade route. To ensure the necessary water supply, settlers chose sites near a well or a river. The fields surrounding the villae rusticae were used to raise grain and animals.

Reconstruction sketch of Bondorf estate

Villa rusticas were the backbone of the country. The existence of far more than 2000 of such estates are known in the area of present Baden-Wuerttemberg.
However, only a small number of these have been archeologically excavated. Through its greater than average size, multiple renovations and additions, unusually good preservation and the number and variety of finds, the estate at Hechingen-Stein offers the possibility of studying the history of such an estate and its former occupants.

» Continued on page 4: The Roman Occupation in Retreat