Behind the scenes in Roman Kent
Exploring Roman Kent, Canterbury, Dover and the ‘Saxon Shore’ forts
Roman Kent formed the vital link between the often-wayward province of Britannia and the continental Empire, with the English Channel the vital connective route between the two. Kent was not only densely populated but was also the industrial heartland of Roman Britain - through to the mid-3rd century AD, with huge metalla enterprises quarrying ragstone in the Upper Medway Valley and iron manufacturing establishments in the Weald. This is a special behind the scenes tour of the region, led by the Kentish Guide Lecturer Dr Simon Elliott, which explores the new excavations taking place. The focus is on the east of today’s county, visiting, in close detail, two Saxon Shore fort sites including Reculver (Roman Regulbium), which defended the northern end of the Wantsum Channel (in the Roman period, a free-flowing waterway isolating the Isle of Thanet from the mainland, providing safe access from the English Channel through to the Thames Estuary without having to navigate the treacherous Goodwin Sands), and Richborough (Roman Rutupiae). The latter was one of the most powerful places in Roman Britain, also marking the beginning of the Roman period, in that it is here that the successful AD 43 Roman invasion took place, and also the end, in the sense that the 5th century AD Roman hoard found here is the latest to be found in Britain. We also explore the Classis Britannica (CLBR) fort and naval base at Dover (Roman Dubris), later another Saxon Shore fort and the location of two pharos lighthouses visible from the CLBR headquarters in Boulogne, Gaul. We complete our two-day tour of the region in the civitates capital of Roman Kent, Canterbury (Roman Durovernum Cantiacorum).
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Day 1 - Canterbury
Today we gather at our hotel base in Canterbury in the early evening. Dr Simon Elliott will give a lecture of Roman Kent before dinner, setting the scene for two exciting days exploring the Roman east Kent coast.
Day 2 - Reculver & Richborough
On our first morning, we travel northeast to Reculver on the north Kent coast where Dr Elliott will give a tour of the Saxon shore fort site and St. Mary’s Church (built within the walls of the Saxon Shore fort with stone recycled from the earlier Roman structure). The tour will also take you to the site’s eastern perimeter where one can view the course of the former Wantsum Channel. We then travel to lovely Sandwich on the east Kent coast for lunch, before visiting paying a brief visit to St. Augustine’s cross, the landing place of the Saint in post-Roman Britain. On to Richborough in the afternoon. Here we will explore the Claudian invasion defensive ditch, the monumental foundations of the grand triumphal arch built by Domitian and finally the well-preserved Saxon Shore fort. Archaeological investigation continues to this day. In the evening before dinner, Dr Elliott will give a lecture about the Roman and the Saxon Shore forts built after its demise in the 3rd century AD.
|Meals included||All meals included|
Day 3 - Dover & Canterbury
Today we travel to Dover and first visit the famous Painted House, a mansio official hostel for those travelling on official business in the Roman period. This dates to the time of the Roman fort and naval base here. The site is also famous for the walls of the later Saxon Shore fort built straight through its living quarters. At the time an internal revetment of earth was built against the inner face of the later fort’s wall, preserving the remains of the Painted House visible today. While here we will be given an exclusive talk by those who investigated the site. Later in the morning, we visit Dover Museum, in particular its fine Roman collection, and the well-known Bronze Age Boat Exhibition. After lunch, we then travel to Canterbury where Dr Elliott will give a tour of the Roman remains in today’s city and time-permitting we’ll visit the Canterbury Roman Museum, before the tour concludes with a visit to a regional archaeological unit to view Roman remains not currently on display and a talk on the latest discoveries in the region.
|Meals included||Breakfast, Lunch|
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Local travel aboard a private air-conditioned coach
- Meals as per the itinerary, wine and tea or coffee with dinner
- Entries to all sites as per the itinerary
- All taxes & gratuities
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Availability|
|4 June 2021||ASRK210406||4 June 2021 (Friday)||6 June 2021 (Sunday)||Dr Simon Elliott||£650
|24 September 2021||ASRK210924||24 September 2021 (Friday)||26 September 2021 (Sunday)||Dr Simon Elliott||£650
|3 June 2022||ASRK220603||3 June 2022 (Friday)||5 June 2022 (Sunday)||Dr Simon Elliott||£745
|1 July 2022||ASRK220701||1 July 2022 (Friday)||3 July 2022 (Sunday)||Dr Simon Elliott||£745