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Wroxeter Roman City

Just fifteen minutes from the industrial heritage of Ironbridge is the site of the fourth-largest Roman town in Britain. There’s not a huge amount of it visible these days – most of it is under farmland, with much of the building stone recycled into the churches in the local villages. But there is still a substantial chunk of bath-house wall standing, and enough foundations of the basilica and forum to give an idea of how impressive it must once have been.

Wroxeter Roman City – the remains of the baths

There was also a small reconstructed Roman town house on the site. It was built about ten years ago as part of an experimental archaeology project, and filmed by Channel 4 for a documentary series “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. The premise was that six modern builders (chippie, plumber, plasterer etc) would have to build the villa from scratch using only tools and methods that would be recognisable to the Romans. So no power tools, and absolutely everything had to be done by hand, under the eye of a somewhat pompous academic archaeologist who was prone to hissy fits if he spotted something anachronistic (like a wheelbarrow!). I remember it made quite an entertaining TV series, so it was interesting to see the finished house.

The reconstructed Roman town house