Period & Description
The Romans lived in Canterbury (or Durovernum Cantiacorum 'fort of the Cantiaci by the alder swamp' as they called it) from around 70 AD to around 410 AD. Excavations have identified roads, a large stone theatre (near St Margaret's Street), mosaic floors, large buildings known as mansio (an early version of a resting place for travellers, similar to a hotel), temples, and public baths (near Marlowe Arcade). Impressive displays and examples of finds can be seen at the Canterbury Roman Museum in Butchery Lane (tel. 01227 785575).
No complete buildings have survivied from this time. We can, however, still see vestiges of Roman work, either in protected excavations, or as red Roman tiles seen in walls of later buildings. The image to the right - on display in Waterstones St Margaret Street - gives us a good idea of what Roman Canterbury looked like (click to enlarge). Finally, the Roman road Watling street passed through Canterbury linking the Kentish ports of Dubris (Dover) and Rutupiae (Richborough) with London, St Albans and Wroxeter. A short stretch retains the Watling Street name.
A. Examples from excavations
B. Examples of Roman red tile seen in existing walls
Roman bath house foundations - Waterstones St Margaret Street
section of Roman wall - display behind glass by the bus station
passing local dog examines temporary exposure of the Roman theatre stage March 2011 - outside the Three Tuns pub
St Martin's church
St Peter's church
Drawn by John Atherton Bowen © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd - can be seen in the basement of Waterstone's in St Margaret's Street
Roman road Watling street