Saturday 15 April 2017

Fishbourne Roman Palace

The holiday has been remarkably lucky with the weather thus far and we have been crossing Sussex to visit seaside attractions, local museums, zoos and markets. One of the places we have visited is the excellent Fisbourne Roman Palace Museum. The villa was constructed in the 1st Century CE within 30 years of the conquest and was probably built for one of the 'client kings' of southern England. Its the largest villa complex of its kind found in Northern Europe and was discovered by accident in the 1960s when a worker in a JCB digger dug through part of it while laying a new water main! 

A model showing what the Palace would have looked like in its heyday

Underfloor central heating (a  hypocaust). 

The world famous Dolphin mosaic

Detail of the Dolphin Mosaic. This is very high quality, and nothing as good as this has been found outside of Rome.

The North Wing of the house is covered by a protective building. The remainder of the massive site is unfortunately under houses and a the A259!

Part of the Roman Gardens have been restored based on archaeological evidence from the site. 

A small selection of military artefacts are also on display in the museum.

A cast of part of Trajans Column

The museum staff conducted several tours of the site and the associated Artefact Store for a behind the scenes looks at preservation and cataloguing. This deals with artefacts from archaeological digs across Sussex and not just Roman items. We were allowed to handle some of these exhibits, including a flint hand axe dated to over 500,000 years old. This is an excellent museum and should definitely be visited if you can get to it. We comfortably spent over three hours here examining the exhibits, listening to tours and watching films and exploring the gardens. 


  1. Superb, thanks for sharing...

  2. Somewhat shamefully, despite being only 5 miles from where I live, I have never been - I need to remedy that!

  3. Fishbourne is a favourite of mine. It's a short train trip from my Dad's in Farnham and I've been several times. Well recommended.

  4. Lee, it is so good to be able to read your blog again! For quite some time, some html code in your template basically made it unreadable on my Galaxy (and my i6 before that). Great to read what you have to say, again!

  5. I last visited Fishbourne when I was around 9, i think i need to go again!


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