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A first look inside Wroxeter's Roman villa

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This is a first look at the impressive interior of the Roman villa built at Shropshire's Wroxeter Roman city for a Channel 4 documentary series. And the public will get to see the site when it opens its doors this weekend.

Video: Professor Dai Morgan Evans discusses the Roman villa project

This is a first look at the impressive interior of the Roman villa built at Shropshire's Wroxeter Roman city for a Channel 4 documentary series. And the public will get to see the site when it opens its doors this weekend.

The Villa Urbana at Wroxeter Roman City, near Shrewsbury, was built during six months last year with the workers allowed to use only tools and materials that would have been familiar to the Romans themselves.

It is hoped the project and the accompanying coverage on TV's Rome Wasn't Built in a Day will help entice more visitors to Shropshire.

Mark Badger, English Heritage's regional head of visitor operations, said: "We are hoping it's going to be really popular. In the last few weeks we have had significantly larger numbers of people coming to the site than usual as well as people parking up and looking over the hedge.

"Obviously when the TV company came to us we were trying to sell them the location side and the hills around because it's fantastic countryside in the area.

"We are hoping people watching on TV will want to come to Shropshire and make this part of their visit."

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Mr Badger said English Heritage was delighted with the finished villa and said it would offer visitors an insight into how some of the inhabitants of Wroxeter or Viroconium, once the fourth largest city in Roman Britain, lived 2,000 years ago.

The design was inspired by a building excavated at the site and was created by Professor Dai Morgan Evans, visiting professor in archaeology at Chester University.

Using local materials and traditional methods and tools as much as possible, the building process has helped shed new light on how incredible feats of ancient engineering were achieved. Mr Badger said: "It's a fantastic achievement. The builders were all out of their comfort zone making something like that but they did a great job."

This weekend and next visitors have the chance to be shown around the town house by the site's own Romans.

Details at www.english-heritage.org.uk

By Russell Roberts

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