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Colchester’s Boudican revolt human remains in national press

Yesterday (8th July), the Trust’s amazing find of human remains in the Boudican destruction debris on our site in the Williams & Griffin store at Colchester was reported on in the national press, on the web-site of the Daily Mail. The item is titled ‘Is this one of Queen Boudicca’s victims? “Extremely rare” jawbone found among burnt debris under a department store in Essex’. The item is illustrated with our photo. of the human jawbone during excavation, and also images of Boudica and a sketch map of Iron Age/Roman Britain. In AD 61, the native Iron Age Britons revolted against [read more…]

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the Trust excavates Boudican destruction debris at Williams & Griffin site

Today (14th May), Trust director Philip made a site visit to our excavation inside the Williams & Griffin store in the High Street at Colchester, to see the Boudican destruction debris which has just been uncovered. The stratification on the site has become clearer now that we have removed all the robber-trenches on the site. The robber-trenches were post-Roman and they were dug to remove Roman building materials for re-use. The full sequence of Roman stratification has now been revealed, right down to the natural sand. There is a thick deposit of burnt debris, which represents the collapsed remains of [read more…]

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‘Boudica: A concert of new music for an old tale’

Today (17th January) sees the premiere of ‘Boudica: A concert of new music for an old tale’ at the Headgate Theatre in Colchester. Local musician Julia Usher has composed a new piece of music inspired by Boudica, the Iron Age queen of the Iceni tribe in Norfolk, who led her people in an uprising against the Roman empire in Britain in AD 61. The Iceni burned three Roman towns to the ground and slaughtered their inhabitants; the towns were Londinium (London), Verulamium (St Albans), and Camulodunum (Colchester). The uprising was crushed, the towns were rebuilt, and the Roman empire in [read more…]

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Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club in April ’18: at the Roman circus!

The Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) met here at the Roman circus visitor centre on the 21st April to explore the Roman circus itself! Colchester YAC organiser Barbara Butler writes: ‘… We held our April meeting at the Roman circus visitor centre after the re-opening of the Roman circus site, visitor centre and tea room for the summer season, and after the Peter Froste archaeological art exhibition had opened. Fifteen YAC members arrived and were taken on a guided tour of the Roman circus site and visitor centre by one of the Trust’s volunteer tour guides, Vicki. The tour included [read more…]

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new historical novel by Douglas Jackson includes Roman Colchester

In August, author Douglas Jackson replied to a post by the Trust on Facebook about Caroline Lawrence’s new book, The Roman quests: death in the arena, some of which is set in Roman Colchester and even in the Roman circus… Douglas Jackson writes historical novels for adults which are set in the Roman period. The latest book in his series, Glory of Rome, was published on the 10th August, the day before our post! Mr Jackson was kind enough to say on Facebook that the Trust’s popular book City of Victory: the story of Colchester, Britain’s first Roman town ‘is [read more…]

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four Monday afternoon talks: September here at the Roman circus visitor centre!

  The Trust is presenting a short programme of four illustrated public talks by Trust archaeologists here at the Roman circus visitor centre. The talks will take place on four Monday afternoons in September 2017: they will be held in the tea room of the visitor centre, which we convert into a lecture hall for talks, and which includes a large projection screen on the stage (see image of a previous afternoon talk above). The talks will all start at 2.00 pm and finish at 3.00 pm. Two of the talks will include finds handling (see details below). We hope [read more…]

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the Ermine Street Guard conquer Colchester Roman circus

On Saturday and Sunday (10th-11th June), the Friends of the Colchester Archaeological Trust (FCAT) hosted a weekend presenting the Ermine Street Guard here at the Colchester Roman circus visitor centre. The Ermine Street Guard re-enact a unit of the Roman army which served in Britannia. The Guard marched in good order from Colchester Town Hall to the Roman circus visitor centre on Saturday morning with a number of ‘camp followers’. Here they performed battlefield drills and demonstrated the use of their weapons, including a ballista which fired water melons and root vegetables! The Guard also met Boudica, queen of the [read more…]

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Roman soldiers to return to Colchester – at the Roman circus visitor centre!

Nearly 2,000 years after their first definite visit to Colchester, the Roman army is returning! – and visiting the Roman circus visitor centre…  The famous Ermine Street Guard is a group of Roman army re-enactors and they will be here at the Roman circus centre for the weekend of the 10th-11th June. The Ermine Street Guard will actually march through Colchester town centre to the Roman circus visitor centre on Saturday morning and then spend the rest of the weekend at the circus centre – and they will be encamped in the garden of the former Sergeants’ Mess next door! [read more…]