Roman St Albans - A Very 'British' Roman Town
- St Albans - one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Britain
- Specially-arranged access to artefacts and documents in the Mortimer Wheeler archive, not usually on display to the public
- Guided tour of the Verulamium Museum galleries and the archaeology park
The ancient city of Verulamium grew from an Iron Age settlement, or oppidum, to become a prosperous Roman provincial town. After the Claudian invasion of Britain in AD43, it has been theorized that Verulamium achieved the status of ‘municipium’ - a semi-independent city state, though there is no evidence to confirm this. Destroyed by Boudica in the 1st Century AD, the town recovered to become a significant Roman town, complete with theatre, forum and basilica.
Parts of the city walls still stand and a hypocaust hints at the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by wealthy Romano-British citizens.
As well as touring the Roman city with an expert guide, we have the chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ at Verulamium Museum. David Thurold, one of the Curators at the Museum, will introduce artefacts and documents from the Sir Mortimer Wheeler excavation archive, hidden away from the eyes of the public in the Museum stores. The whole story of a Roman town, from grand monuments to poignant everyday artefacts.
Morning: 10:15 am start
10:15 - Tea and coffee then an introductory lecture from Mark, there will be a guided tour of the Museum, taking in some Roman highlights - including the rare semi-circular design of the Shell Mosaic and the Bronze statue Verulamium Venus. A visit to the Museum stores with Museum Curator, David Thorold, to see some of the published material from the Wheeler collection, plus other artefacts from Verulamium not currently on display.
13:00 - A two-course lunch at a local public house.
14:00 - A visit to the theatre - the best preserved Roman theatre in Britain! We will walk through the Park to see the Roman Town House, with its famous hypocaust and hypocaust mosaic, uneartherd by Wheeler in the 1930s. We'll also take in the late Roman walls, still visible in the park.
16:30 - Disperse.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Lunch - Pub lunch nearby
- Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue
Well organised with appropriate time devoted to the museum, theatre and other Roman relics in the park. As always Andy Fear was an excellent GL. He is articulate, highly knowledegable and amusing. His introductory lecture provided the perfect context for the day.
Dr Fear's talk was very well structured, very well presented with the visuals and the words and tailored for the enthusiastic amateur. Engaging manner. The tour of the archives by the curator was excellent and the tour of the museum also good. I was particularly taken with the mosaics there and in the bathhouse. The pub food was very good. Thank you Debbie for looking after me. It was especially nice to be able to eat outside.
The lecture was very enjoyable. Dr Fear was both informative and entertaining and worked very hard all day. He was able to engage his audience through good visuals, questioning, explaining and anecdotes. The hands-on session with the archaeologist was also very memorable. In general the museum session was very interesting. The planning and pace of the whole day was very successful.
A very comprehensive look at Roman St Albans. Firstly, the presentation on the Roman town development, before occupation, through the Roman years and the aftermath when the Romans left . Secondly, a look at and handling of some of the artefacts excavated on show in the museum and those not on show. Thirdly, field walking identifying the layout of the town and excavated buildings, etc.
A lot of things in a small area; Whole story of Verulamium alongside its material remains. Very well organised and helpfully displayed museum and informative visit to the store. Very nice and generous pub meal.
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What to expect
- An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
- A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
- Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
- Small Groups 12-25 guests
- The company of like-minded people!