Schoolchildren visit historic site

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary scho

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary school had a site visit to discover more. Picture: GRACE CARTER - Credit: Grace Carter

Developers of the Mercury Theatre site in Colchester are discovering exciting evidence of the Roman town, with an archaeological dig by experts.

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary scho

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary school had a site visit to discover more. Picture: GRACE CARTER - Credit: Grace Carter

Developers Phelan welcomed a group of local primary school pupils to see the progress at the site.

The £9m project is hidden behind hoardings at the moment.

The archaeological team has discovered Roman paving and other evidence of what would have been a substantial Roman house, and debris from later periods, including a lead musket ball, a relic of the English Civil War.

Phil Crummy, of Colchester Archaeological Trust, said the site of the Mercury Theatre was known as an archaeological hotspot for many years, and to its immediate right is the most impressive section of the town’s Roman wall.

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary scho

Colchester site is revealing Roman history of the town. Children from Layer Del La Haye primary school had a site visit to discover more. Picture: GRACE CARTER - Credit: Grace Carter


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To the immediate north are the remains of the famous Roman Balkerne Gate, and to the south is the medieval former church of St Mary, now an art centre.

Matthew Jolly, pre-construction manager at Phelan said: “We were thrilled to welcome the year 3 pupils at Layer De La Haye primary school to view the archaeological dig at the Mercury Theatre, particularly looking at the two Roman houses that have been uncovered. The pupils are currently studying the Romans and were bursting with questions for Adam Wightman from the Colchester Archaeological Trust, who showed us around.”

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“We are really pleased to be working on the demolition and construction work at the Mercury Theatre as part of the Mercury Rising project. It has been wonderful for Phelan to be able to share this experience with the local community, both through school trips and the recent open day.”

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