A NEW history display has been opened to transport visitors back to the days of the Roman Circus.

Using the Colchester Council locality budget, former Christ Church councillor Annesley Hardy, has teamed up with the Colchester Archaeological Team to revive the period of Colchester’s history.

The display, which is at the Roman Circus Centre, off Butt Road, includes replicas of original Roman pottery in the form of the Colchester Circus Vase and the Gladiator Vase.

Artisans Graham Taylor, David Hill and Mark Taylor, have also made glassware with gladiator and chariot cups contained within John Hillyard’s purpose-built case.

Alongside this visitors will be able to watch and learn the processes they used as it is shown on a looping film.


Ms Hardy said: “We’re delighted and grateful for the help from the locality budget which made the new case possible.

She added: “Although gladiator fights and wild animal hunts were normally held in amphitheatres, it’s known events of this kind were sometimes held in circuses between races.

“A number of images featuring racing chariots and gladiators have been found in Colchester over the years.

“These are mainly on glass and ceramic vessels, which is why we’ve put together a display on this subject in the Roman Circus Centre.”

The purpose of the display is to answer questions about what the Romans did for fun and work in the town.

It is also meant to give people an appreciation of the Roman way of life and the skill of today’s technicians, who made the display possible.

Philip Crummy, of the Colchester Archaeological Trust, added: “Although the area of North Circular Road was used by Romans around 2,000 years ago, no original artefacts have been excavated at the circus.

“However, a shard featuring a driver, a chariot, and horses were found on Balkerne Hill in the 1970s and formed the basis of our plan to add to the visitor experience.”