free guided tours at the Roman circus centre

Today (11th November), some of the Trust’s volunteers were enjoying a training session at the Roman circus centre and site with Trust director Philip… These volunteers – including Wendy, Hilary and Jane – have volunteered to provide free guided tours to visitors at the circus centre on request (when they are available, usually on weekday afternoons). They will provide guided tours as well as undertaking their usual work, which is helping to process the large quantities of archaeological material which we excavate. This material ranges from very small fragments of pottery, painted wall-plaster or animal bone, to larger pieces of building materials and even some complete pottery vessels. The material ranges in date from the prehistoric through the Roman periods and up to the post-medieval and modern periods. It all has to be washed or cleaned, dried, marked, perhaps reconstructed, and handed over to an appropriate specialist for analysis. Our volunteers deal with all this material in our ‘back room’ processing room and also in the ‘archaeology in action room’ of the circus centre, where visitors can watch the processing ‘live’ and chat to our friendly volunteers!

Hilary has been a Trust volunteer for about 15 years and is also a member of the Colchester Archaeological Group (CAG): she is particularly interested in processing the finds from Roman and post-Roman burials. Wendy has been a Trust volunteer for about a year: her daughter Hannah is also a volunteer at the circus centre and did her work experience here, as well. Wendy is very interested in archaeology and, since working with the Trust, has developed a great interest in Roman archaeology and especially in Roman pottery, as has Jane. Our volunteer guides are all very enthusiastic about the Roman circus and are looking forward to showing visitors round. Wendy says that she is committed to doing anything that she can to support the circus centre, as it receives no public funding and admission is free to all visitors.

The Roman circus centre, site and cafe are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10.00am-4.30pm; they are wheelchair/pushchair accessible; and admission is free. So do come and visit the Roman circus centre – you will enjoy chatting to our super volunteers as they process archaeological material and/or as they show you round the circus centre and site!

The Trust is, as always, extremely grateful to all our volunteers for their great contribution to the work of the Trust, to the Roman circus centre, and to the archaeology of Colchester and Essex.

The images show Wendy, Hilary and Jane in the ‘chariot room’ of the circus centre today, during the training session (Wendy is wearing her ‘Colchester Archaeological Trust volunteer’ fluorescent vest), and the ad. and brief feature about the circus centre and our free guided tours as published on page 11 of the November issue of the free local magazine, The Colchester & District Flyer: this can be read online via [image to follow].