Teaching & Learning in the museum district
Rome Meets Briton
Dr. Sadie Watson, Director of Bloomberg Roman Excavations for the City of London Museum, is in Houston as a guest speaker for the Museum of Fine Arts this week. She generously gave her time today to speak to our sixth and seventh grade students and shared about her recent Roman excavation in London. This was a timely talk as sixth grade students are studying about archaeology in Social Studies and seventh grade students are studying about the Fall of Rome in History.
Imagine beginning construction on a new office tower in Houston and an entire village that is several thousand years old is discovered? That is exactly what happened in London in the spring of 2013 as a new office building was being erected. As construction began, suddenly the streets of Roman London emerged, along with a lot of other things. Tens of thousands of things! The finds were amazing and the discoveries made at this huge three-acre site are changing our way of thinking about the Roman Empire and its conquest of Britain.
Termed the Pompeii of the North because of the incredible preservation of artifacts, including the largest number of Roman shoes, the site has yielded the greatest number of Roman wax tablets ever discovered. Found in a sort of file cabinet, these tablets reveal letters, legal documents and lists of people living in London, allowing us to know some of the names of individuals.
Now classrooms can follow along with the discoveries made and learn about how Rome perceived the Britons and, more importantly, how the Britons felt about the Romans. These issues of cultural identity are still important today and will be discussed in a talk that integrates with social studies requirements.
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