The Festival of British Archaeology 2009 may have officially ended on Sunday, but the summer spirit of historical adventure lives on thanks to the National Museum Wales‘ National Roman Legion Museum – where visitors can get involved in Gwent’s prosperous Roman past with a big dose of living history.
Caerleon was once the site of an important Roman legionary fortress, named Isca Augusta, which housed over 5,000 soldiers, and by 75 AD had become the headquarters of the illustrious 2nd Legion Augusta during Sextus Julius Frontinus‘ conquest of Wales. The town was also the site of two famous Christian martyrdoms; those of Saints Julius and Aaron.
Today the Roman Legion Museum takes visitors around the ancient fortress, and gives them a glimpse of what life was like in one of the most successful legions in the Roman Empire. And its Romans in Residence exhibition, running from July 27 to August 23, celebrates Caerleon’s Roman heritage with a series of characters and stalls. You could meet Marcus the gardener, or get some medicine from Victoria the doctor.
The ‘Jolly Boar’ tavern sees Flavia and Olivia serving drinks to the soldiers, and a market sells Roman wares. If you want a bit of high life you could visit Lady Helena in her villa, and the army are always looking for some brave young people to help fight the barbarian tribes of Roman Wales. Those wanting to explore the museum can get guided tours throughout the event
Images by National Museum Wales.