On the 28th April Year 6 went to Verulamium (St Albans) Museum. Verulamium was the third biggest city in Roman Britain after Londinium (London) and Camulodunum (Colchester).
When we arrived at the museum, everyone was placed into groups. I was in the workshop group. We went into a room with some tables with Roman artefacts on them. The artefacts were excavated from the city and these were different types of objects that would be found inside a Roman villa. Some of the items were used for cooking, dining, cleaning as well as materials from the villa like roof tiles and builders’ tool. Some of the objects that I found fascinating were a ‘strigil’ which people used to scrap the oil off their skin when they were washing; a small terracotta oil lamp which didn’t give out much light; a very large Roman mug that had a hunting scene on it; and a Roman ruler that was used in the building of the house.
Next we had a talk on what Romans wore. A man wore a knee length tunic called a ‘chilton’. As England is very cold, they wore also a long cloak that looked like a shawl with a hood on it. Rich, Roman men wore togas and would get their clothes dyed or embroidered with colours such as purple. Women wore longer tunics that went down to their ankles and a ‘stola’ which was an extra layer to keep them warm. Rich woman wore long tunics made from silk or cotton. They had lots of jewellery like earrings, wore strong perfumes and had elaborate hairstyles that the ‘ancilla’ (slave girl) would do. A Roman slave didn’t have very good clothes. It would be a tunic made from wool that went down to the knees and was tied together with a belt.
After the talk we went to take a look around the galleries. Inside the galleries were lots of different Roman objects such as mosaics, games, coins, and pottery. I found a shell mosaic very interesting because on the outline there is a deliberate mistake. It could be the artist’s signature or the mistake was placed there to please the gods by saying humans are perfect, unlike gods. I enjoyed as well looking around the rooms that were decorated like Roman houses. I found a model of a carpenter’s workshop very vivid.
After lunch we went into a park and went into a tiny building that contained a Roman mosaic. The mosaic was in a room that was thought to be a reception room. The Romans called it the ‘tablinium’. We could also see how the Roman’s underfloor heating system, called the hypocaust, worked.
Finally we went to see the remains of a Roman theatre. It was very impressive even though you could only see the standing structure. You could see how the seats were put on a sloped hill so everybody cold see the stage. The theatre could hold up to 2,000 people. The stage was held up by five pillars. The theatre reminds me of modern theatres today because it had a dressing room, a large amount of acting space and wings. One of the differences was the Romans had a wooden platform for religious festivals, on which they would sacrifice animals. The theatre would show plays, dancing shows, wrestling and animals fighting each other like bear baiting.
Thank you to all the staff who prepared it because it was very enjoyable.
by Anna (year 6)