Recreating our Roman heritage

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Staff

VISITOR numbers at Wroxeter’s Roman city have exploded following a TV documentary earlier this year.

The site, managed by English Heritage, has had more than 33,500 visitors since March - more than three times the 9,000 visitors for the same period last year.

The success is down to the building of a Roman-style villa, based on a building excavated at the site.

The Channel 4 documentary ‘Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day’ followed its construction using only traditional tools and materials.

Mark Badger, head of visitor operations, West Midlands said: “We are delighted with the large increase in visitor numbers to Wroxeter Roman City.

“The replica Roman Town House has introduced the Roman City to a wider audience and provides a unique window for our many visitors to imagine Roman life in the town at its peak.”

The Roman city Viriconium was built in 58AD as a fortress for Roman legionaries.
More than just a military fort, it was once the fourth largest Roman city in Britain and thrived for more than 500 years, but fell out of use in the 5th or 6th Century.

The house recreated for Channel 4's documentary incorporated its own baths, and was probably owned by a wealthy merchant or administrator.

Despite more than 100 years of archaeological excavation, just a small portion of what is thought to have been a 70-hectare site has been revealed, with most of the city still buried underground.

The nearby Wroxeter Hotel is offering Roman Weekends, a two-night package that includes entry to the site, a tour of the Wroxeter Roman vineyards nearby and two nights’ bed and breakfast including a Roman banquet.

Owner Hannah Hall said “We have seen an increase in trade, particularly with the holiday season. The film crew stayed with us, and had their wrap party here, so we were quite involved.

“When it aired we saw an increased interest in all things Roman, and some of the builders have been back and love it when they get recognised in the bar.”

At the Roman city on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August children can take part in Roman themed activities, including a Roman soldier drill, for an extra £1 on top of usual admission.

n Admission is £4.80 (£4.30 concessions) for adults/£2.90 for children. For more details visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

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