Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future
Iron Age reconstruction (c)  Smith Kriek Productions This is a reconstruction of how Folkestone’s East Cliff may have looked in the Late Iron Age, before the Roman conquest of southern Britain in AD 43. The picture is based on evidence from excavations. There was at least one ‘round house’ and a very simple work shop on the cliff top where stone querns were made for grinding grain into flour. People would have used the querns locally and probably also sold or traded them. Walls of a ‘round house’ were made of wattle (woven branches) covered with daub (clay). The roof was a wooden frame probably covered with thatch. We don’t know if there were any openings for windows.
Archaeologists don’t find much evidence for these buildings. Why do you think this is?
What do you think it would be like to live in a house like this?
Reconstruction image drawn by Drew Smith and Mikko Kriek.
Iron Age settlement An Iron Age settlement just before the Roman conquest in AD 43. People farmed the land and fished in the rivers and sea. They made and decorated their pottery by hand and used money. We know all this because archaeologists find coins, bones of animals like pigs, cattle and sheep and sherds of the pottery.
This picture has been drawn using evidence from Canterbury.
Aerial photograph of the Roman villa An aerial photograph of the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff excavated in 1924. In Roman times the villa would have been built well back from the cliff edge. But by 1924 the cliff face had eroded so much that the villa was now at the cliff edge and had begun to fall onto the beach below. In 2010 and 2011 archaeologists are at the site again to rescue more ancient remains before they are lost forever.
The orange line shows where we think the cliff edge is in 2010.
Reconstruction of the Roman villa This is a reconstruction of the Roman villa found at Folkestone’s East Cliff. Archaeologists excavated the villa site in 1924, 1989 and are going there again in 2010 and 2011 to find more remains from Roman and Iron Age times. See how big the villa is compared to the smaller modern house.
The villa had lots of rooms and was built with stone, clay bricks and tiles. It had under-floor heating and running water – luxuries in Roman times. Some of the rooms had mosaics and decorated walls. The villa had a wonderful sea view across the English Channel to France.
What kind of people would have lived in a place like this?
Folkestone seaview (c) Smith Kriek Productions This reconstruction of the Roman villa found at Folkestone’s East Cliff was made in 2012. Archaeologists excavated the villa site in 1924, 1989 and were there again in 2010 and 2011. They found remains from Roman and Iron Age times. The villa had lots of rooms and was built with stone, clay bricks and tiles. It had under-floor heating and running water – luxuries in Roman times. Some of the rooms had mosaics and decorated walls. The villa had a wonderful sea view across the English Channel to France.
What kind of people would have lived in a place like this?
Reconstruction image drawn by Drew Smith and Mikko Kriek.
Folkestone villa front (c) Smith Kriek Productions This reconstruction of the Roman villa found at Folkestone’s East Cliff was made in 2012. It shows the front of the villa with its gardens, facing the sea. You could have walked through the main entrance, across the passage and into the dining room with its mosaic floor. Archaeologists excavated the villa site in 1924, 1989 and were there again in 2010 and 2011. They found remains from Roman and Iron Age times. The villa had lots of rooms and was built with stone, clay bricks and tiles. It had under-floor heating and running water – luxuries in Roman times. Some of the rooms had mosaics and decorated walls. The villa had a wonderful sea view across the English Channel to France.
What kind of people would have lived in a place like this?
Reconstruction image drawn by Drew Smith and Mikko Kriek.
Plan of the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff A plan of the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff excavated in 1924. Archaeologists draw, photograph and write notes about their discoveries. They call this recording.
Why do you think it is important to record the evidence?
Key to the plan of the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff Key to the plan of the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff excavated in 1924. Look at the rooms there were and how many. What does this tell us about the person or people who owned the villa? Can you think of any modern buildings with rooms like this?
Roman Mosaic Mosaic found at the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff excavated in 1924. It was made with grey ragstone, white chalk and red brick tesserae. There is enough of it left to work out a pattern. The mosaic was in a room identified as a dining room (Room No. 40). From this room there was a view straight out to sea!
You could find other pictures of Roman mosaics.
Roman wall painting Roman wall painting from a villa at Pompei in Italy. Pieces of coloured wall paintings have been found at the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff. These show that some rooms were decorated.
Roman wall painting Roman wall painting from a villa at Pompei in Italy. Pieces of coloured wall paintings have been found at the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff. These show that some rooms were decorated.
Roman hypocaust Drawing showing how a Roman hypocaust worked. Heat from a furnace beneath the floor kept the floor above warm. The hot air could also travel up special box tiles built into the walls. The Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff had some warm and hot rooms and bath rooms. Not all Roman houses had the luxury of under-floor heating.
Hypocaust A hypocaust at the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff showing pilae stacks. This room is known as room 12.
Model of a Roman dining room Model of a Roman dining room. It has the under-floor heating chamber (hypocaust), mosaic floor and painted walls.
(This model is from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust loans collection (CAT BOX collection)).
Roman public baths Artist’s drawing of Roman public baths. The bath is heated and the walls and mosaic floors are very colourful. People didn’t use soap as we do. They rubbed oil into their warm skin and then scraped the oil and dirt off using a strigil. The bather on the right is holding a flask of oil and using a metal strigil. In the baths at the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff, archaeologists found two animal rib bones that they think bathers used as strigils!
Roman baths cartoon Cartoon of Roman chaps at the baths!
Roman mosaic Mosaic panels from a Roman town house in Canterbury. They were built into the floor of a corridor. The Roman Museum has been built around them. The tesserae are made from pieces of red brick, grey ragstone and white limestone. A mosaic salesman could have samples of different designs for customers to look through – like we see in carpet shops now.
Roman kitchen A reconstructed kitchen at the Roman Museum in Canterbury. At the Roman villa at Folkestone’s East Cliff archaeologists found lots of chopped up animal bones in the kitchens where servants had been cooking. They even found knives and spoons that had been left behind.
Reconstruction drawing of a Roman villa A reconstruction drawing of a Roman villa discovered at Maidstone. This villa has been built beside a river.
Drawing of a Roman town This is a drawing of a Roman town. It is how Canterbury may have looked. Archaeologists have interpreted the evidence from many excavations to make the drawing. Roman towns in Britain usually had the same kind of buildings. In the drawing you can see the public baths (bottom right). These were like a modern leisure centre. In the centre is the theatre. Opposite the theatre is a temple with a large courtyard. A town like this would have had markets and shops with people living above them. It would have been a busy, bustling place like a lot of our towns today.

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