Press Releases

We're digging it: Silchester Roman Town Open Days 2007 – University of Reading

Release Date : 28 June 2007

Excavations at the Roman Town at Silchester will be open to the public this summer, offering people an opportunity to visualise Calleva Atrebatum as it was at the time Pompeii was destroyed by the great eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

Visitors of all ages will be offered the chance to learn more about Roman Britain and life in one of its towns. Experts from the University of Reading's Archaeology department will lead tours of the excavation site and there will be demonstrations and talks on this year's finds throughout each day.

The Silchester project is both a training field school and a research excavation located in the heart of Calleva Atrebatum, a major Iron Age centre and Roman administrative centre, situated in the modern village of Silchester. Its overall aim is to trace the Iron Age origins, subsequent Roman development and eventual abandonment of one 'insula', or city block, of the town.

Professor Mike Fulford, the University's leading expert on archaeology and the director of the Silchester project, said: "The Open Days are a great opportunity to see live excavation – history in the making - and to catch the project at an important moment in the life of the town as we work our way towards understanding the earliest origins of Silchester, right back in prehistory.

"We are continually developing new approaches to maximising our understanding of the site through the deployment of new scientific approaches; and of developing new approaches to the complex processing of data which underpin the new histories we are able to write about the town and its occupants."

Visitors can also take the opportunity to walk the Roman town walls and visit the Roman amphitheatre. There will also be demonstrations of Roman blacksmithing. Children will be able to dress up in Roman costume, take part in mini-excavations and handle real archaeological finds discovered from the site.

Running for six weeks every summer, 2007 sees the eleventh season of work by students and staff from the University of Reading on the site situated near Reading.

Open days will be held on Saturdays July 21 and August 4, running from 10:00am – 4:30pm. For further information visit the Silchester dig website.

During the Field School, which runs until 12th August, visitors are welcome to see the excavation in progress every day, except Fridays, between 10:00 and 4:30pm. Groups must book in advance.


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