Dorchester Roman Festival

I blogged about plans for this, earlier in the year. Now it’s upon us. From This is Dorset

TAKE a trip back in time this weekend as Dorchester hosts its first ever Roman Festival.

Held over two days and centred around the Roman Town House at County
Hall, it promises to be a fantastic opportunity to find out more about
Dorchester’s classical heritage.

Historical re-enactment team Legio II Augusta – named after the most
successful Roman legion to serve in Britain – will be billeted in the
town over the two days and will be marching through the town,
practising military drills and looking for new members in recruitment
and training drives at Maumbury Rings and Maiden Castle.

At the Town House you will be able to meet and talk to Roman
soldiers, aristocrats and slaves and learn about Roman cookery,
midwifery techniques, children’s toys and medical science. There will
also be storytelling with Tim Laycock and time with Dorset County
Council’s Family Learning Team.

A number of events are also taking part at Dorset County Museum in
High West Street, including a talk by Lindsey Davies, the author of the
hugely popular Falco detective novels. There will also be Roman craft
workshops for children.

Blue Badge Guide Christine McGhee is leading a walk around the
ancient town of Durnovaria and there are also plans for a walk to
Maiden Castle.

Festival organiser and Roman Town House heritage officer Sarah
Harbige is delighted that it is taking place and hopes it will take off
and be held every other year in future.

“There is a real move to make more of the town’s Roman heritage,
which has come in the wake of the revamp of the Roman Town House,” she
said. “It is a great opportunity to highlight the Romans’ influence on

“Kids will love the legion being in town, especially if they get the
chance to become a Roman recruit! The adults will be fascinated by it
all too as Legio II Augusta are very professional and extremely
knowledgeable. If you have any questions they will be able to tell you
the answers.”

Sarah joined the Town House team this year and is excited by what it could hold for the future.”

Dorchester’s Roman Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday,
August 30 and 31 in and around the town. Call Dorset County Museum on
01305 262735 for full details and event bookings.

Copper ingot donated to Amlwch museum

AN ANCIENT copper ingot is being donated to a museum by a member of the family who found it.

The relic was made from copper ore dug out of the Parys Mountain mine around 2,000 years ago.

The ingot was found by the Fanning-Evans family who ran the Mona Mine in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Thomas Fanning Evans lived in Amlwch and he was the first metal mine’s inspector in North Wales, he was also a J.P., High Sheriff, and shipowner.

Anne Brennan, of Dwyran, is a distant relative of the family and has donated most of the family heirlooms to various museums.

Hope is the secretary of the Amlwch Industrial Heritage Trust and said
the gift was ‘priceless’ to the town in historical terms.

“It’s something like a very thick copper lens about 12-13 inches in diametre and three inches thick,” said Mr Hope.

“It’s reminiscent of the way that the Romans cast their ingots when they occupied Britain,” he said.

“Three were found in the late 1800s and this one has been returned to Amlwch from the family of Mrs Brennan.

“Previous ones had borne Roman letters stamped on them but this one doesn’t have a stamp at all.

looks like a black mass and is quite interesting. It would have come
from the bottom of a furnace and formed this ‘cake’ shape that’s
like a lens.

“Then they would have been taken back to Rome to make arms and the short daggers that the Romans used,” he said.

The “bun ingot” will be officially donated to the trust on Monday at the Old Sail Loft in Amlwch Port.

Mrs Brennan said: “It should be in a museum. It’s very heavy and I’ve given the thing to them.”

Edinburgh Roman fort to be opened to pubic

Roman fort will be centrepiece of new tourist attraction

August 2008
By Brian Ferguson ONE of Britain’s most important Roman sites – the remains of a fort on the outskirts of Edinburgh – will be opened up permanently to the public within months, The Scotsman has learned.
An excavation has exposed what is left of the ancient building for the first time since in more than 50 years.

Work carried out over the last few days in the shadow of Cramond Kirk has opened up the remains of the fort, which dates back to 142AD,

The new work will include uncovering parts of the fort, which is thought to have once housed more than 1,000 men, for the first time, including its gatehouse, and former grain stores.

It is hoped the archaeological project will not only unearth new treasures but will shed new light on whether the Romans actually stayed in the area longer than already thought.

Once that work is completed landscaping will be carried out around the remains before the site is opened up to the public.

A similar project will then be carried out on the nearby remains, which are currently below ground, of a Roman bathhouse, discovered in the mid-1970s, which is widely regarded as the best-surviving Roman building in Scotland.

It is hoped a long-awaited multi-million pound visitor centre and museum, housing most of the Roman artefacts discovered in the area over the years, will then become a reality. The new attraction will recount the famous story of the Cramond Lioness sculpture, discovered 11 years ago by a ferryman in the nearby River Almond. It can currently be seen in the National Museum of Scotland.

Historians believe the fort was originally constructed as an outpost of the Antonine Wall, on the frontier of an empire during the campaigns of Emperor Antoninus Pius around 142-144 AD.

John Lawson, the city archaeologist, who is leading the dig, said: “The remains of the fort at Cramond are actually one of the most important Roman sites anywhere in Britain.

“Although there was an extensive dig in the 1950s, overseen by a local couple, Alan and Viola Rae, this one will cover areas that have never been looked at before. Archaeological techniques and our knowledge of the Roman occupation of Scotland have moved on hugely since then, so it’s a very important dig.

“We are hoping to find out more about the origins of the fort, who might have been occupied there and at what time. It may be that the Romans were in Cramond much later than we currently think.”

Cllr Deidre Brock, the council’s culture and leisure leader, “I can’t wait to see the results . The local community have always been very enthusiastic about the Roman Fort and I’m pleased they’re able to take part in these new excavations.”

29 August 2008 12:12 AM The Scotsman Edinburgh