20 February 2011

Shrewsbury in 200 AD

Wroxeter, when it was still Viroconium Cornoviorum, was the fourth largest city in Roman Britain, having developed from a legionary fortress. English Heritage has worked with Channel Four in the making of a documentary, Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, modern builders applying materials and techniques of the period to recreate a second century Roman villa. This, raised on an artificial platform to protect the underlying archaeology, is based on excavation evidence from the city, occupied from 58 AD for half a millenium, at its height home to 15,000 people.

The reconstruction, which took just six months to complete, includes a self-contained shop (which would have had living space above), porter's lodge, and reception/dining room with frescoes and mosaic floor. There's also a three-room bathing facility - frigidarium, tepidarium and calderium. The rooms, all connected by an open corridor, are in some cases part-finished, so as to exhibit the various building techniques used.

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