When did urbanism first appear in Britain? What form did the pre-Roman centres of Britain take: towns, markets, ritual foci or royal estates? Why and how did they become Roman urban centres?
To understand how colonial contact stimulated change in the indigenous societies of Iron Age Britain, archaeologists need to understand how the massive ditched complexes (oppida) which emerged in southern Britain at the end of the Iron Age worked and how they related to existing landscapes.
Despite calls for a better understanding of Late Iron Age oppida (e.g. Haselgrove et al. 2001), study continues to focus on a small number of sites. Whilst these investigations are providing increasingly complex assessments of some Late Iron Age centres, an understanding of whether sites elsewhere followed similar or different trajectories remains limited. The Bagendon Project seeks to clarify the role of one of these monuments, Bagendon ‘oppidum’, Gloucestershire.