Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 6°C

Search

Extraordinary Roman arcade found in Colchester is ‘greatest find of its kind’

PUBLISHED: 07:53 15 February 2016 | UPDATED: 07:53 15 February 2016

The remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which
formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.

The remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.

Experts have come across the ruins of a 120-metre-long arcade, which provided a frontage to the Temple of Claudius, in Colchester.

Castle House features the remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which
formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.Castle House features the remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.

Britain’s biggest Roman arcade has been uncovered – under an apartment building in Colchester.

The landmark discovery was made when the Colchester Archaeological Trust came across the ruins of a 120-metre-long arcade, which provided a frontage to the Temple of Claudius, dating back to around 50AD.

Today the temple forms the base of the Norman Colchester Castle.

Experts had been digging under the floor of the recently-constructed One Castle House, opposite Castle Park, for some time.

Colchester Borough Councillor Tim Young, Sarah Head-Anderson from Flying Trade Group, and Phillip Crummy from Colchester Archeological Trust at the remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade.Colchester Borough Councillor Tim Young, Sarah Head-Anderson from Flying Trade Group, and Phillip Crummy from Colchester Archeological Trust at the remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade.

The trust’s director Phillip Crummy said: “The discovery of this monumental arcade was originally made in 1954 but it was left untouched. It is the biggest Roman structure of its kind to be discovered in the UK.

“Its closest rival in terms of size stands in northern France, and shares some of the architecture we can see here today.

“The original arcade and its grand columns are similar to those you see in Bath, at the Roman Baths. It really is an extraordinary find and it shows how much history Colchester has to offer.”

Remains of the ancient building will go on public display this summer under three glass panels, giving visitors a chance to learn more about Britain’s oldest town.

The remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which
formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.The remains of a Roman Monumental Arcade, which formed part of the gateway to Claudius Temple, has been discovered.

In Roman Britain the “stunning” arcade took the form of a series of 28 arches, punctured in the middle by a grand gateway.

An interpretation centre with a café will share the ground floor of Castle House with the newly discovered artefacts. Conveniently, the exhibit is located opposite the entrance to Colchester Castle.

Dr Crummy and his team have been working on a digital project to enhance the new display, where images of the arcade’s original structure are cast onto the wall behind the remains.

“We’ve now managed to work out the dimensions of the columns found at One Castle House in Roman feet.

“These calculations have allowed us to design a digital reconstruction, as we have displayed here on a projector,” he said.

“With this discovery, we can now show Colchester what it was really like to live in a Roman arcade – 1800 years ago.”

And Tim Young, portfolio holder for community and culture at the town’s borough council, said he is “intrigued” by the new find.

“This discovery will add an exciting dimension to the castle experience. The castle staff are intrigued by it, as am I and many others on the council,” he said.

“We opened up the original exit of the castle recently, which will allow all of the elements, including the castle itself and the new display, to come together.

“I think introducing something like this to the town opens a new chapter for the story of the castle, and shows us how Roman Colchester really is.

“We live in the oldest town in Britain and we must make the most of that fact.”

Suki Dulai, managing director of George Hotel owners Flying Group PLC, decided to preserve the arcade after previously planning to open a restaurant at the town-centre site.

He said: “After the discovery of Claudius Gateway, we’ve decided to preserve and celebrate our history with the community of Colchester.”

The company has decided to run the exhibit as a charity, which will raise funds for both the community and for World Food Aid.

Sarah Head-Anderson, group head of marketing at Surya Foods, part of Flying Group PLC, said: “We don’t want a profit motive to interfere with preserving the history of this fantastic find.

“We are very keen to work in partnership with the council and the Archeological Trust to create something that will celebrate Colchester’s history and help the local community.”

An open day is taking place at One Castle House on Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Five people have died after a knifeman brought terror to the heart of Westminster, mowing down pedestrians then stabbing an unarmed policeman before being shot by armed officers.

An alleged child sex offence is recorded by police almost every four hours in Suffolk and Essex in total, an investigation has revealed.

Are you stuck for what to do to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend?

Community leaders in Leiston have put together an 18-point wish list of improvements they want EDF Energy to put in place if the Sizewell C nuclear power station is given the go-ahead.

A burglar who was part of a gang that vandalised an Ipswich town centre cafe has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Like the famous green benches of the House of Commons, the police are part of the fabric of Westminster.

Upper Brook Street is one of the oldest streets in Ipswich and over the centuries it has been home to several public houses and inns, writes David Kindred.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24