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They were usually an enclosed spaced open to the air which may have had colonnaded sides to allow business to be conducted in inclement weather, in Britain this was mostly rain, unlike many other countries in the Empire where the colonnade would provide shelter from the sun.Temporary stalls would have been common in and around the forum.Towns in the most basic sense can be defined as a group of buildings larger than a village.However, there are some intrinsic elements which accompany the term.Rooms within houses would have included bedrooms (cubicula); dinning suits (triclinia); kitchens; study; storeroom and so on.However the number and arrangement is very difficult to determine without a high level of archaeological preservation and some rooms may have had multiple functions.In Britain these two major elements were often found together as at London, Silchester, Cirencester and Verulamium.
These were expanded by adding rooms or wings in whichever direction was possible and some eventually became compound houses and these were more particular to Britain. Courtyard houses were more common in other areas of the empire and consisted of an arrangement of four wings around a colonnaded courtyard, built as a whole for the elite members of society, less than a half dozen are confirmed in Britain.The water was used for drinking, domestic use and for bath houses.In association with the water supply was the necessity to drain the continually running excess water away, hence there being frequent drains throughout Roman towns such as York.Their size was variable and one difference between Roman Britain towns and those of other provinces was that there appear to have been frequent open spaces throughout the towns.
The density of occupation does not appear to be as high, which also leads to the suggestion that with space available most buildings did not need to be more than one storey in height.
There is also a small body of information from written sources, which has an inconsistent reliability.