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Visit Soul of the Warrior!

Roman Painted House

About the Roman Painted House

Roman painted houseIn 1970 The Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit made a find that was to be of significant importance to the Roman history of Britain. It was the discovery of a very well preserved Roman house, complete with many artefacts that were in excellent condition. The house itself was probably a Mansio, an official transit hotel. The Dover town was an extensive site and took the next 22 years to excavate. It was a huge excavation by any standards and the Unit's people removed over 5,800 tons of soil. Enough to fill 580 10 yard lorries! There were in excess of 20,000 fragments of painted walls found inside the building. During the work, a layer of finely worked flint implements that dated back to the Neolithic period of about 2000 BC were found. This indicates that the site itself had be of considerable importance throughout British history. The resultant site is described by the Unit's secretary Edna Philp as "The best preserved Roman town house in Britain." There are a total of five rooms, very well preserved with walls from 4-8 feet in height. Of special interest are some 400 square feet of in situ finely painted wall plaster. To support the belief that this was a stopping house for those on a journey, the designs in the plaster relate to Bacchus, the God of wine and revelry, both appropriate for weary travelers. There is also a well preserved Hypocaust that shows graphically the famous Roman central heating system. The house was built about 200 AD and over the next 100 years it was extensively altered for both civil and military purposes.

The house has many displays relating to Roman Dover, with over 30 display panels and several cases showing items unearthed during the excavations.   There is also brass rubbing, mosaic making and a touch table.

Useful information
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Free parking provided

Gift shop in museum

Cafe nearby

Coach parties welcome

Restaurant nearby

Licensed Restaurant/cafe nearby

Wheelchair access (ground floor only)

Opening times

April - September
Closed Mondays - except during July and August
Open on Bank Holiday Mondays

10.00am - 5.00pm

Admission prices (Single)

April - September


Admission prices (Group)

Minimum of 10 in a group

All year

Open all year for booked schools for the Roman Activity Workshops
£2.00 per child. Teachers and helpers free.

The prices quoted on this page are correct : December 2002

Contact details

Roman Painted House
New Street
CT17 9AJ

Tel : 01304 203279

Roman painted house gallery
Roman painted house
View from the upper gallery
Bronze Hand and eagle
Bronze Hand and eagle

Marble head of Roman matron

Location of the Roman Painted House
Location of the Roman Painted House

My thanks to Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit
and especially Edna Philp for their help in constructing this page
All photographs used © Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit
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