Thought to be the home of a Roman client king or local governor, Fishbourne's oldest foundations date from the Roman Invasion of 43 AD. These were most likely granaries for the legions.
But just under twenty years later, these granaries made way for a residential villa with a central courtyard garden and its own baths. In about 75 AD, the site was expanded over the next five years. A series of suites, reception rooms, galleries, and other rooms were added to the existing villa. The palace was still built around a central garden courtyard that was bordered by luxurious colonnades. The site was lavishly decorated with frescoes, mosaics, and marble statues.
After being refurbished several times during the Roman occupation, the palace was ravaged by a fire in approximately 270 AD and was abandoned. Excavations began by accident in the 1800s before more focused work started in the 1960s.
Now, a dedicated museum has been constructed over the surviving ruins. It is run by the Sussex Archaeological Society and is one of West Sussex's most popular tourist attractions.