English Heritage has announced a reconstructed Roman gateway and rampart providing panoramic views across Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre in Kent will open to the public today 19 April.

    Standing an impressive 8m high, the gateway has been built on the exact spot of one built for an original fortification in AD 43, to defend the place where the Roman invasion forces landed in Britain.

    The charity has also curated a new museum display, with previously unseen objects from the collection found at Richborough, which explores the site’s history that spanned both the beginning and the end of Roman rule; from a 2000-year-old glass cup made from blown glass in the Middle East to a trader’s weight in the shape of Harpocrates, the god of silence, which is the only one of its kind in Britain.

    • Photo: English Heritage

    From a military base to a thriving port town and back again, Richborough is a hugely significant Roman site in Britain, often referred to as the ‘gateway to Britannia’. At the time of the invasion, Richborough was a small island which became the location of a large fortification, discovered by archaeologists in the 1920s.

    At the entrance to the defences, in 2021, a new generation of archaeologists exposed the large holes in the Roman ground surface which had held the large timber posts that had supported a wooden gateway and tower. This tower guarded an entrance to the fortification, inside which soldiers and supplies were assembled after disembarkation from a fleet of ships. Now, centuries later, based on the archaeological evidence and Roman sculptural sources, English Heritage has intricately reconstructed the ancient Roman defence exactly above the site of the original.

    • Photo: English Heritage –

    Paul Pattison, English Heritage’s Senior Properties Historian, said: “This is an historic moment. To be able to rebuild a structure as accurately as possible, and one that stands on the exact spot of the original at Richborough almost 2000 years ago, is remarkable. The Roman invasion was a major milestone in our history. We know that Richborough witnessed over 360 years of Roman rule – from the very beginning to the bitter end – but standing atop this 8m-high gateway, looking out and imagining what the first Romans might have seen, is quite an experience.”

    Click here to read more on the English Heritage website

    By Ed

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