Largest Roman arcade in Britain unearthed

Archaeological investigation uncovered the remains of Britain’s largest Roman covered walkway. The ruins of the walkway measure 120 metres. They were found beneath land intended for a new apartment block. The arcade was built in the late 1st Century or early 2nd, following the destruction of the town during Queen Boudicca’s rebellion against Roman rule. The arcade would have comprised a series of 28 arches built across the front of the temple precinct, with a grand gateway in the middle, named after the Emperor Claudius. The remains of the central Claudius gateway were first discovered in 1931. Parts of the arcade where found in 1954, with more ruins excavated in 1964. But it was not until the latest discovery that archaeologists realised the full significance of the arcade structure.

The dig with exposed remains of the walkway (by The Telegraph)
The dig with exposed remains of the walkway (by The Telegraph)

The monument was built as the frontal structure for the Temple of Claudius, erected around 50 years earlier. It consists of a covered walkway, enclosed by a line of arches on both sides, to provide shelter for pedestrians. During her sacking of the town in 60 or 61 AD, Boudicca had razed the temple, where Colchester’s citizens had sought refuge, and the arcade is thought to have been part of the Romans’ attempt to rebuild the settlement and re-impose their domain across Essex and East Anglia.

Artistic reconstruction of the monumental arcade (by The Telegraph)
Artistic reconstruction of the monumental arcade (by The Telegraph)

(after The Telegraph)

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