Cirencester, Roman Corinium Dobunnorum, was the second largest city in Roman Britain. Set on the edge of the Cotswold Hills, by the fourth century the city had become the capital of the rich province of Britannia Prima. The wealth of the hinterland of Roman Cirencester is demonstrated by the largest concentration of villas known in Roman Britain, many of which have produced some of the finest mosaics found in the country.
This study day will explore the visible remains of Roman Cirencester and the nearby palatial villa at Chedworth. In Cirencester we will see part of the city wall and the amphitheatre followed by a visit to the Corinium Museum. The museum houses one of the finest collections of Roman material in western Britain and includes fine sculpture, inscriptions and mosaics. Highlights include the tombstone of Genialis, a cavalryman from the Balkans who was buried in Cirencester in the first century AD and the recently discovered tombstone of a local woman called Bodica. Mosaics include an ‘Orpheus’ pavement featuring a parade of exotic animals and a near complete floor with a central panel depicting a crouching hare.
In the afternoon we move on to the great villa at Chedworth. Set at the end of a beautiful wooded valley the site was one of the largest villas in the Cirencester area. Discovered in the nineteenth century, two ranges of the villa are displayed and include many fine mosaics, two bath-houses and a nymphaeum. Recent investigations here have produced important evidence for the laying of a new mosaic around AD425, the latest known from Roman Britain.
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Study Day -
9.30 - Meet at Beeches Road long stay car-park (on east side of town just off Cirencester by-pass, A419). (Non-drivers will have to take train to Kemble, 3 miles to SW of Cirencester with frequent bus link). Walk along exposed Roman town wall and through Abbey grounds to Corinium Museum.
10.15 - Arrive Corinium Museum, coffee break at adjacent museum café.
10.45 - Tour of Corinium Museum.
12.00 - Visit Roman amphitheatre.
13.00 - Lunch in Cirencester.
14.00 - Depart for Chedworth Roman villa
14.30 - Arrive Chedworth and tour of remains.
16.00 - Return to Cirencester.
16.30 - Disperse