Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club in March ’18: more medieval mayhem at the Roman circus visitor centre


The March meeting of the Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) here at the Colchester Roman circus visitor centre was postponed from the 17th to the 24th March,

Colchester YAC organiser Barbara Butler writes: ‘… The planned Colchester YAC meeting was postponed because of really cold and snowy weather.

However, 16 YAC members were able to come to the Roman circus visitor centre on the 24th March to continue our medieval theme in considerably warmer weather, but just before the Roman circus site, visitor centre and tea room re-opened for the summer season and before the opening of the Peter Froste archaeological art exhibition.

The YAC members looked at and identified pottery in the Trust’s finds processing room with Trust and YAC volunteer Gillian Brown. The YAC members then got designing their own medieval patterns, based on actual medieval pottery fragments and a book on medieval pottery.

They also had a go at creating stained-glass windows using black card and coloured cellophane. Some of the designs looked really good against the light of the windows in the Roman circus visitor centre. The YAC members discovered the art of making a picture from cut-out spaces. Some of their themes were modern and included 21st-century technology, although they were re-creating medieval and Victorian stained-glass window designs with black card and cellophane …’.

(The medieval St John’s abbey gateway – dating to about AD 1400 – is just round the corner from the Roman circus visitor centre in Colchester. The Roman circus was built in the early 2nd century AD and went out of use by the end of the 3rd century. The construction of St John’s abbey was begun in about AD 1095, with all its buildings within a walled precinct. Some of the line of the walled precinct respects the site of the Roman circus, suggesting that some remains of the circus still survived on the site. The abbey included a church which would have featured stained-glass windows. In 2013, the Trust uncovered part of the foundations of the church during a small archaeological excavation. Perhaps building materials from the ruins of the Roman circus were re-used in the construction of the medieval abbey…)

The next meeting of the Colchester YAC was on the 21st April (report to follow).

The images show the YAC members trying medieval designs in the finds processing room and making their stained-glass windows in the main room of the visitor centre.































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 .