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Roman London

Lower Sixth Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation students explored the city on their doorstep to discover some surprising vestiges of its Roman past.

While you would be hard pressed to name visible Roman remains in London, there are a few – most notably fragments of the Roman wall, which pop up at intervals on the perimeter of the City. And there is a very great deal underground, mostly inaccessible – but also some surprising vestiges. These, if you follow them like clues in a detective story, add up to a picture of a complete layout within that wall.

Last month, Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation students went on just such a journey, from Tower Hill, via part of a Roman house in a church crypt, a little-known villa and baths under an anonymous doorway on Lower Thames Street, to the temple of Mithras (spectacularly returned to its rightful home in the depths below Bloomberg’s offices), the base of an arch under a barber’s shop in Leadenhall Market (the old forum), the amphitheatre below the Guildhall and finally the fort entrance, now within a subterranean car park (pictured above) at the Barbican. We had no time to beachcomb on the shores of the Thames, but for certain there we would have found further traces of our Roman predecessors. We seemed to have tuned into a different London than that of the office-workers, where continuity wins over change.

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