This building is a reconstruction based on evidence from urban Londinium. We intentionally set about building a vernacular Roman structure to illustrate the everyday experience of an average Romano British citizen.
The original evidence for these buildings consists of waterlogged timbers, surviving joint evidence and even roof boarding and some evidence of pitch caulking. The timber frame is made from sweet chestnut sourced from the forest behind the centre with oak posts serving as the main uprights. The building grew as a project for 14 and 15 year old students from Dorset Learning Centres who worked with us for 18 months to produce probably the most accurate reconstruction on site. The students used only hand tools to form the 250 joints in the timbers and came together at the end of 6 months to raise the frame in a single day.
The building is split into two rooms – one being the forge, the other being a general work/living space with a roman hob and potters wheel. Outside, the walls have been painted with Latin graffiti from Pompeii which remarks on the exploits of various gladiators. The garden is the focus for growing some of the introduced herbs and plants from the Roman period and allows us to experiment on a small scale with new seeds and species.