Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club: October ’17 meeting – Roman villas

On Saturday (21st October), the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) held their October meeting here at the Colchester Roman circus visitor centre.

Colchester YAC organiser Barbara Butler writes: ‘… A lively group of 17 members of the Colchester YAC met at the Roman circus visitor centre. We welcomed a new member and all introduced ourselves and our favourite period of history. The YAC members had excavated a number of finds on the site of a Roman villa at Fordham near Colchester in September, with members of the Colchester Archaeological Group (CAG). CAG member and YAC volunteer Jill Hamblyn brought the finds in so that the YAC could wash and sort them here at the Roman circus visitor centre. On Saturday, Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) and YAC volunteer Gillian Brown set up the finds for washing. The young people took turns and washed the finds in groups of four under Gillian’s expert supervision. The finds consisted of fragments of animal bone and Roman wall-plaster, brick and tile. Now that the finds have been washed, they can be sorted, and then they will be returned to the CAG.

While the sessions of finds washing were in progress, the rest of us discussed Roman villas in general, and the site of the Fordham Roman villa which we helped to excavate in particular. This villa was sited in farmland with a nearby water supply overlooking the valley of the River Colne, with views of the Roman town of Colchester in the distance.

After this, the young people attempted to draw and/or design a Roman villa, using the reference books in the CAG library on the top floor of the Roman circus visitor centre! The young people were divided into small groups again, for the final challenge of the day – which was for each group to build a model of a Roman villa out of Lego. Some of the young people were ambitious enough to install a hypocaust (underfloor heating) system in their model, although the more successful models were on a smaller scale …’.

The images show the YAC on Saturday: drawing in the ‘chariot room’; washing finds in the processing room; and a tray of the finds after washing.





































If you are aged under 17 and interested in joining the Young Archaeologists’ Club in Colchester, then please contact Barbara Butler on  07808  9 6 8 7 6 6  or at barbara[at] or Barbara Butler, Colchester YAC Branch, c/o the Colchester Archaeological Trust, Roman Circus House, Roman Circus Walk, Colchester, Essex CO2 7GZ.

The National Young Archaeologists’ Club web-site is at .