Hundreds visit Villa Dig to see Legio II Augusta
The excellent weather during the weekend of July 2nd & 3rd helped ensure that over 1000 people, including many children, came to the Roman re-enactment event at East Cliff put on by Legio II Augusta. Bringing along a doctor’s tent with midwife in attendance, a lounge with women weaving and making clothes and a street kitchen (popina), the group portrayed with great detail and accuracy some aspects of Roman Life. In a small arena there were gladiator fights and military displays by soldiers, all done with a touch of humour. In another area children had the opportunity to play some Roman games.
All who came greatly enjoyed the event, with many taking the opportunity to look over the villa dig and be told about the history of the site by Andrew Richardson of Canterbury Archeological trust. About 30 new volunteers were recruited bringing the total number to around 600. Having registered as volunteers, a father and daughter stayed almost all day on Saturday to help with the sorting and washing of finds. There is little doubt that Legio II Augusta reached a new audience, attracting many people who had not been to the villa site before.
While there were many local visitors, others came from further afield, with a sprinkling of holidaymakers from the nearby campsite, including people from Texas, Norway and Greece. Many of those who came left comments. The Dinos family from Athens wrote “We hope you carry on and excavate it all. We love seeing a working dig.” Legio II Augusta were also impressed with the location and with the enthusiasm and interest of the visitors.