Located in the historic city of Canterbury in Kent, the Canterbury Roman Museum is home to a prized Roman pavement, designated as a scheduled monument. The pavement is found within the remains of a Roman courtyard house, which has been designated as a Grade I listed building. After being discovered in the aftermath of World War II bombing, the pavement was made accessible to the public in 1946. Since then, the museum has been established, showcasing a range of excavated artefacts from Roman Canterbury (Durovernum).
Overview of Roman Canterbury
The Cantiaci inhabited Kent in the first century AD until the Romans captured a settlement on the River Stour, which they later called Durovernum Cantiacorum, or stronghold of the Cantiaci by an Alder Marsh. The town was partially grid-patterned and included a theatre, temple, forum, and baths. To defend against barbarian attacks, a town wall with seven gates was built in the late third century. The town covered 130 acres or 53 hectares. Roman Canterbury reached its peak around 300 AD.
What can you see at the Roman Canterbury Museum?
Mosaic pavement at Roman Canterbury Museum
The town of Canterbury has undergone numerous constructions over the generations since the Roman era, resulting in the Roman pavement being displayed in its current location underground. The pavement, which includes the remains of a townhouse with a hypocaust, is described in the scheduled monument listing as “a series of three mosaic panels that decorate the remains of a corridor of a Roman house,” and dates back to approximately 300 AD. The pavement is preserved with an air conditioning system to ensure its longevity.
Excavated Roman Artefacts at Roman Canterbury Museum
The museum also showcases various excavated objects, including household deities such as a horse-shaped one, Roman glass pieces, some of which are decorated, silver spoons, tweezers, an axe, dice, and a plumb weight. In addition, a silver hoard from the 5th century AD, discovered at Westgate Gardens in 1962, is also on display. Military artefacts, including reconstructed metal parts of cavalry harness and a pair of cavalry swords (spathae) retrieved from a double burial, are also featured. Furthermore, the exhibit includes roof and floor tiles, one of which was marked “I, Cabrianus, made this tile” and another with a dog’s footprint left when the clay was wet.
Visiting Roman Canterbury Museum
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday: 10.00am to 5.00pm
Address: Canterbury Roman Museum, Butchery Lane, Canterbury, CT1 2JR
Adults: £10.50, Children: £5.35
Sites near Canterbury Roman Museum
- Canterbury (Durovernum) Roman Fort (0 km)
British Capital, Claudian Auxiliary Fort (AD 43–54) and Oppidum
- Bigbury Camp (3 km)
Iron Age Hillfort
- Reculver (Regulbium) Fort (14 km)
Saxon Shore Fort
- Ospringe (Durolevum?) (16 km)
- Durolevum (Faversham?) (16 km)
- Richborough (Rutupiae) Roman Fort (17 km)
Port and Saxon Shore Fort
- Worth Temple (19 km)
Temple Or Shrine
- Isle Of Sheppey (19 km)
- Westgate Villa (20 km)
- Folkestone Villa (23 km)