shopping at the Colchester Roman circus! – NEW modern mosaic goodies on sale NOW

Today (4th December), we were delighted to take delivery of some goodies here at the Trust’s HQ/the Colchester Roman circus visitor centre. We have commissioned a set of three special items featuring a design of the modern Roman circus mosaic which is on display here at the Roman circus visitor centre. The three special items are a printed tea towel, and a hand-made purse and shoulder bag, just in time for Christmas… (In the 2nd to 3rd century AD, on race days, there would have been stalls selling food and drink, souvenirs, etc, here at the Colchester Roman circus.)
*** The tea towel costs £8.00, the purse £10.00 and the shoulder bag £40.00. These are bespoke items and they are only available to purchase here at the Roman circus visitor centre.


The modern Roman circus mosaic design was specially created for the Trust by artist Peter Froste, and the modern mosaic was made from it by teams of volunteers in 2005-6. The design is based on real Roman mosaics of Roman circuses. The modern mosaic has recently been renovated and mounted on a new purpose-built wall here at the Roman circus visitor centre. We will be launching them both in April ’18 in conjunction with an exhibition of Peter Froste’s archaeological paintings of Colchester.

The modern Roman circus mosaic design shows Roman chariots, each drawn by four horses and driven by a charioter, racing around the central barrier of a Roman circus. Each chariot is accompanied by a hortator on horseback: their job was to exhort the charioteer and assist with the chariot horses during the race. The modern mosaic also shows the starting-gates and the elements of the central barrier such as the lap-counters and an obelisk.


The purses and shoulder bags have been locally hand-made by Jemima (in Ipswich). Jemima works full-time in a school and she makes all her fabric bags and purses in her spare time, which she sells under the name of ‘Jem’s Bags’. Jemima loves to search out and buy fabrics to make her bags. She recently visited us here at the Roman circus visitor centre to discuss our commission and show us her first sample.



The tea towel is printed on 100% cotton using a high-quality printing process, and this fabric has also been used to make the purses and shoulder bags. The purses and bags include zips and the bags hold an inner pocket and are lined with a silky lilac fabric. The tea towel costs £8.00, the purse £10.00 and the shoulder bag £40.00. The three items are available to buy from the office on the first floor here at the Roman circus visitor centre in person or by ‘phone or email, to be posted or collected (packing and postage costs will be added to the purchase price). We think that they are very attractive!

This morning, the Town and Army Club met here in the tea room of the Roman circus visitor centre for their annual party, and members bought six of our brand-new tea towels! Trust archaeologists are also planning to buy mosaic tea towels as bulk Christmas presents (with six already bought and four on order)…

The Roman circus visitor centre is currently closed for the winter break, but will re-open on the 27th March ’18. We welcome pre-booked groups here during the winter, and we can provide guided tours and refreshments. The visitor centre is also available to hire for events. Two series of public lectures are presented here during the winter, by the Colchester Archaeological Group and by Colchester Recalled: for further details, please see the calendar on the home page of this web-site. The Colchester Young Archaeologists’ Club also meets here once a month (members only).
Our contact details are at .
We look forward to hearing from you!

The images show our modern Roman circus mosaic, and Beverley, a noble volunteer from the Town and Army Club, modelling the three special items this morning, and close-up photo.s of the three items in the Trust’s HQ this afternoon, as well as Jemima herself (above).