1 day

From $230

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Among the most important tools of the archaeologist working in the classical world is the huge wealth of inscriptions that are one of the keys to unlocking the past.  The Romans in particular were fond of the public display of their decrees and virtues on tombstones, building inscriptions, milestones and as idle doodles and graffiti. For the archaeologist and historian this egoism has been a boon, providing the foundation for historical accounts, and adding flesh and personal detail to archaeology and written history. 

The soldiers of the Roman army were meticulous bureaucrats, but their stone inscriptions were formulaic and easy to read.  The splendid collections of the Caerleon Museum hold the records of the Second Augustan Legion, a veteran unit raised by Rome's first Emperor Augustus.  This will be an opportunity to learn to decipher these for yourself – and absolutely no previous knowledge of Latin is required! (although if you have some it can only be a bonus).  Dr Andrew Fear will provide a solid practical introduction, unlocking the symbols and abbreviations used by the masons and their masters. There will be an opportunity to make a paper ‘squeeze’ of an inscription – a traditional method used by early archaeologists.

The collections in the Caerleon Museum include artefacts of all sorts from the Legionary Fortress, and there will be time to examine and discuss these, as well as take a guided walk of about an hour around the fortress remains (including baths, barracks and amphitheatre) to put the inscriptions in their general context (although exact findspots are often not known).

Tour highlights:

  • Introduction to the abbreviations and codes used by the masons and the messages they were broadcasting
  • Absolutely no knowledge of Latin is required! (but if you have any, this will be a bonus)
  • Take home a ‘squeeze’ of an inscription of the Second Legion Augusta at Caerleon Itinerary (start and finish time exact, all others are approximate)

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Meet your Experts

Dr Andy Fear

Andante Guide Lecturer

Dr Andrew Fear is Lecturer in Classics at the University of Manchester.

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Caerleon's amphitheatre
Tour dates & prices
Tour Departure Tour ID Departure date Guided by Price Availability
22 April 2023 AXEP230422 22 April 2023 (Saturday) Dr Andy Fear $230
(ex. flights)
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14 October 2023 AXEP231014 14 October 2023 (Saturday) Dr Andy Fear $230
(ex. flights)
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