The Roman Painted House, Dover: History for Schools.

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Roman Life Activity Workshops

Your school is cordially invited to visit this major Roman site at Dover and to take part in its special Roman Life Activity Workshops.

The Roman House at Dover

 was a mansio (hotel) built outside the Roman naval fort in AD 200 and is one of the best preserved Roman buildings in Britain giving ample evidence of the Romans' building skills and the Roman way of life. The remains of five rooms, with tile and flint walls up to 2 metres high, fine in situ wall paintings and elaborate under-floor central heating system (hypocaust) are viewed from gallery and basement levels. A section of the later Roman army fort wall and stone bastion can also be seen.

The Roman Life Activity Workshops

 are designed to meet the requirements of the National History Curriculum for primary schools. As well as studying the Roman House with an archaeologist, the workshops provide an opportunity for the children to handle and draw Roman artefacts and undertake other activities related to Roman studies. The activity workshops aim to give the children an informative, interesting and 'hands on' experience of life in Roman times.


an introductory talk

 by an archaeologist on the exciting discovery and excavation of the Roman forts and the Roman Painted House. To illustrate one aspect of life in the Roman Dover, three children can be dressed as Romans -- as a Roman lady, a Roman senator and a Roman slave boy.

a guided talk

 on the key elements of the Roman House -- its in situ wall paintings relating to the god Bacchus, its well preserved underfloor central heating system (hypocaust), its construction by the Roman navy in AD 200 and partial demolition and burial later (AD 270) by the Roman army when it built its new fort.

handling, drawing and labelling Roman artefacts:

 each child has a tray of 'finds', including pottery, oyster shells and building materials from the Dover excavations.

'brass rubbings'

 of 14 centimetre high Roman figures to take back to school. These include various ranks of Roman soldiers, Julius Caesar, a Roman marine, the Dover lighthouse (pharos) and a Roman merchant ship.

mosaic making:

 each child has a tray of multi-coloured 'tesserae' and Roman patterns to follow.

sample worksheets

 can be provided for schools to copy, if these are preferred to one of the above activities.

touch table of Roman artefacts

  combined with a visit to the sales desk. Items, mostly under £2.00, include a guide book, postcards, colouring book on Dover and souvenirs.


Workshop sessions: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10am or 12.45pm.

£3.00 per child; teachers and helpers free (maximum 5 per class)
teachers and helpers are asked to help with supervision
each session lasts about two hours


Telephone 01304 203279 (9am - 5pm: Tuesdays and Wednesdays in October-December, and March (from the 18th March); Tuesdays to Fridays in April to September) -- or Write to Roman Painted House, New Street, Dover, Kent CT17 9AJ

  • The Roman House is close to Dover Town Centre and 600 metres from Dover Priory Station.
  • It has a forecourt for car parking and off loading coaches.
  • It has indoor toilets.

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment notice.

We do hope your school will visit the Dover Roman House!

Brian Philp,

IMAGE: signature of Brian Philp

Hon. Manager of Roman House and Director of the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit.

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