THE group which found Colchester's world famous Roman circus is in a race against time to raise £5,000.

Colchester Archaeological Trust wants to improve its headquarters, which are next to the site of the Roman chariot arena, in a bid to attract more visitors.

It is to bid for a £50,000 grant from Cory Environmental Trust.

However, it needs to find ten per cent of the grant, £5,000, by next Friday.

Trust director Philip Crummy said if it is allocated the money, the trust will commission artist Anne Schwegmann-Fielding to create a life-sized chariot and charioteer for the front of Roman Circus House.

Pieces of mosaic would also be used to give an impression of how spectators would have sat in the stands of the arena.

Mr Crummy said: "We really want to improve the whole experience, there is great enthusiasm to do it.

"We are applying for a grant but we need to raise £5,000 as stakemoney and hope the public will give us donations."

He added: "We have had a busy summer but we want to expand on what we have done.

"There is a lot more we can do."

The trust is also applying for separate grant funding to improve the displays inside the buildings.

And it hopes to get cash to permanently display the restored six metre long mosaic.

Mr Crummy said: "We are trying to develop the circus. We are still struggling with people finding us and the lack of parking but it is picking up and improving the exterior will help a lot."

Anyone could can donate money can do so at



COLCHESTER Archaeological Trust has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.

Current Archaeology magazine presents awards annually to leading projects and archaeologists.

And this year, the Colchester group has been shortlisted for two.

Trust director Philip Crummy is in the final three in category of archaeologist of the year for dedicating his professional life to putting Roman Colchester on the map.

Mr Crummy has led the trust for more than 40 years and has led major finds including Britain's only Roman Circus.



The Trust has also been shortlisted in the category of best rescue dig for its excavation at Williams and Griffin store in Colchester High Street.

The dig uncovered the Fenwick treasure, a hoard of Roman coins and jewellery which was hidden during the Boudican revolt of AD 61.

Archaeologists also found fragments of human bone amongst the charred debris of 1st century houses which gave a poignant picture of a dark episode in Colchester’s history.

The public can vote by going to the CA website at

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London in February.