Fishbourne Roman Palace is now open every day. Please check timings and safety precautions on the website of the Sussex Archaeological Society, owners of the site.
A mysterious Roman helmet that pre-dates the Roman invasion of Britain is on display along with other pre-invasion artefacts – a sword scabbard fitting and an Iron Age crucible.
In terms of what these objects mean for understanding of our Roman past, visitors to the exhibition will find that their guess is as good as the experts’.
The helmet, known as the Oyster Helmet of Chichester, is one of just four Coolus helmets in the UK. It was produced during the first century AD, before the Romans began their conquest of Britain. It was acquired by the Sussex Archaeological Society in 1893, and though much of its journey has been lost to history, it is thought to have been found in the mud flats at Chichester Harbour, just a few miles from the Palace.
The scabbard fitting, which is made of copper alloy like the Chichester Helmet, sparks further debate. Though it is Roman, it was found in an Iron Age ditch. The crucible offers yet more evidence of Iron Age Britons having interacted with Romans pre-invasion. It contains cast brass, a Roman invention that requires zinc, a material which is not native to the UK.
Half term 30 May-3 June: Celts and Romans
Celts and Romans go head-to-head this May half term holiday, and there will be lots of fantastic interactive activities
designed for families but open to anyone. Running from 11am to 3pm, these include:
- Creating your own simplified Celtic Roundhouse: Find out about the buildings the Celts and Romans lived in with our interactive models and then have a go at making your own!
- Learn how to play Celtic and Roman board games
- Test your mettle with our simplified Tabletop Wargame. Using models of the Palace, and Celtic and Roman warriors, one person plays as the Roman defender and the other plays as the Celtic attacker.
And every day from Monday 30 May to Sunday 5 June, you can take part in a Celts vs Romans trail around the Palace.
To help it recover from the lockdown, when no money was coming in, the Palace needs lots of visitors so come along if you possibly can, encourage friends and acquaintances, and spend what you can spare in the cafe, the bookshop and the giftshop.
We, the Friends, continue to rely on our members’ subscriptions and donations to enable us to make grants to the Palace for items which their budget otherwise would not bear. If you would like to make a donation (or further donations) we shall be most grateful. To help, send your cheque to the treasurer: Mr Richard New, 3 Baileys Way, Hambrook, Chichester, PO18 8FE or contact us for details of how to make a bank transfer.
Fishbourne Roman Palace is a subsidiary of Sussex Archaeological Society, which receives no public funding to help with the upkeep of its various sites. Our Constitution provides for the Friends to raise funds specifically to help the Palace purchase equipment or fund activities which would otherwise be beyond its budget. Friends also give their time to help on site, either regularly or at special events such as children's activities.
On our Projects page you can see some of the ways we have been able to help. Even if you cannot take part in Palace activities your membership subscription or donation provides valuable support.