Saturday August 9th 2014 marked the last week of the excavations at Silchester, and this day was chosen for a walk round the Roman walls and a visit to the Open Day. Silchester Roman town has been the site for excavations from time to time since the 19th century. It is one of only three or four towns which have remained untouched since the end of the Roman period in Britain and is the focus of seven roads radiating out to London, Winchester, Salisbury, Cirencester etc. Reading University has been excavating in Insula IX for 18 years and has now reached the natural layer where there is no more archaeology.
The group of U3A members began by walking anti-clockwise around the walls, which stand several metres high in places and form an impressive monument as they completely encircle the town. We visited Silchester church, sited over a former temple near the east gate, where welcome coffee and tea were available. Our next stop was in the Amphitheatre where we ate picnic lunches perched on the edge of the seating banks. Again, this is an impressive monument. Once the circuit of the walls was completed we joined the people enjoying the Open Day. Site tours were on offer together with demonstrations of archaeological investigation and a display of some of the most interesting finds.