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Roman history all set to be revealed
ROMAN remains dating back thousands of years will be revealed as work begins on a new visitor attraction.
The eight starting gates of Britain’s only chariot circus were found under the gardens of the Sergeants’ Mess, off Circular Road North, in Colchester.
The Colchester Archaeological Trust, which found the circus, has now taken the keys to the gardens from developer Taylor Wimpey.
And it hopes to start work this summer on transforming it into an interpretation centre.
Volunteers are being sought to help with the work which will be the first stage of a development celebrating the find.
The project will see a pathway created from the Trust’s new headquarters at Roman Circus House, formerly the Army Education Centre, into the gardens.
The foundations of two of the gates will be excavated and re-covered with glass, so they are visible to visitors.
The bases of the other circus gates will be recreated in stone and brick in their original positions.
Two large etched viewing screens will also be put up to demonstrate the scale and shape of the gates.
One will show the outside of the gates while the other depicts the gates open and a race starting inside the arena.
Trust project manager Peter Herring said: “By the end of the year we hope to be able to open the ground floor of Roman Circus House for an interim interpretation centre. We would also hope to have the gardens open, but we will need volunteers.
“We hope the people of Colchester will step forward and get involved.”
The mosaic created by schoolchildren, which has been sited on the mound near the gardens for four years, will also be moved into the gardens of Roman Circus House.
The Trust has bought the house from Taylor Wimpey which is redeveloping the former Colchester Garrison.
It used part of the money raised from a public appeal and met the rest of the cost through a mortgage.
It has also applied for £1 million heritage lottery funding to extend the building and to create an indoor interactive Roman interpretation centre area.
Anyone wanting to help should call volunteer co-ordinator Neil Staff on 07940 864781.