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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Archaeological Site open to the Public: Colchester Archaeological Trust show Roman Arcade to front of Claudius Temple (now site of Castle)

Colchester Archaeological Trust's monumental excavation at 97 High Street, Colchester was shown to the public for the first time yesterday (13 February 2016).  On a rather dank and drizzly day about 650 people had visited by lunchtime.  Andrew Smith, a member of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History (and Friends of the Trust member), infiltrated the crowd to bring these photographs.
The Trust's website reported that, "The monumental arcade made it into local, national and even international media outlets! The Trust has exposed some of the massive foundations of the Roman monumental arcade which once fronted the precinct of the Temple of Claudius in Colchester, at 97 High Street, and the site owners had kindly given permission for us to open the site to visitors for a day. The site owners are Flying Trade Group plc: they are also going to install a cafe on the ground floor of the building which now stands over the exposed foundations, and this will include large ‘windows’ in the floor so that customers can view the remains, which will be a marvellous addition to the heritage of the town."
The local firm, who have built flats on the site, is forgoing the sale of the ground floor space so that visitors can see the archaeological remains. 
"Philip [Crummy, the Trust's director] thinks that these remains represent the largest Roman arcade in the northern Roman empire, as the remains which were recently discovered – of the largest Roman arcade in France – represent a smaller structure than the arcade in Colchester. The arcade in Colchester seems to have been 120 metres long. (The remains of the smaller arcade were discovered in 2014 at Pont-Sainte-Maxence.)"
The excavation and the Open Day was reported in The Times newspaper and also into The Sun on 11 February. The East Anglian Daily Times gave it a three-page spread, which was a great response.
C.A.T. posted the following media links:
* The links to the online press reports:
10th February:

‘”Largest Roman arcade” in Britain to go on show in Colchester’,
‘Extraordinary Roman arcade found in Colchester is “greatest find of its kind”,
‘Enormous Roman arcade found in Essex was once part of a magnificent temple: 400ft-long arched structure is the largest of its kind found in the UK’,
‘Remains from Britain’s largest Roman arcade from the Temple of Claudius to go on show on Saturday’, at
‘Colchester’s monumental Roman arcade uncovered’, at
‘Britain’s biggest Roman arcade discovered under a block of flats in Essex, at
11th February:

‘Colchester Roman remains to be displayed’,
‘Remains of monumental Roman arcade discovered in Colchester’,
‘Monumental Roman arcade found in Britain’,

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