Roman theatre found in Faversham Paul Wilkinson's back garden
The archaeological dig at
the theatre site in Faversham
by Lauren Fruen
A man has revealed the discovery of a Roman cockpit theatre
almost at the bottom of his back garden in Faversham.
Dr Paul Wilkinson, of the Kent Archaeological Field School, says
the 2,000-year-old monument is believed to be the first of its kind
The theatre, which would have seated 12,000 people, was found at
Now Dr Wilkinson, pictured below, is fighting to preserve
the unique find for future generations.
He said: "It really is an amazing find, the first
one in Britain, and it is just beyond my garden. This is a unique
and wonderful discovery, not only for Faversham but for all of
"The theatre could have held 12,000 people and we are going to
request for it to become an ancient monument site because it is so
important and we can preserve it for future generations."
The site shows activity dating back to the Bronze Age, but it is
the Roman theatre, which would have been used for religious
occasions, that has really excited history buffs.
Dr Wilkinson added: "It would have been a religious sanctuary
for the Romans. They would have held religious festivals there. It
is called a cockpit theatre.
"There are 150 of them in northern Europe, but none in Britain
until now. We were not expecting it."
The discovery was made by the Kent Archaeological Field School,
which is based in Faversham.
Investigations began on the land back in 2007, but the results
have only just been released.
Dr Wilkinson believes the site is the only known example in
Britain of a Roman rural religious sanctuary, with a theatre
actually built into the hillside.
English Heritage spokesman Debbie Hickman said: "If the full
analysis of the results does confirm that the site on the outskirts
of Faversham is a Roman rural theatre, it would be a most
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