'Historic moment' as 2000-year-old Roman gateway is unveiled in Kent

A reconstructed Roman gateway and rampart providing panoramic views across Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre in Kent. Credit: English Heritage

An historic gateway and rampart has been reconstructed on the exact spot where the Roman invasion forces landed in Britain.

Unseen treasures belonging to soldiers, residents and traders will be on display for the first time in the new English Heritage museum at Richborough Fort.

They include a 2000-year-old cup made from blown glass in the Middle East to a trader’s weight in the shape of Harpocrates, the God of Silence, which is the only one of its kind in Britain.

The impressive 8m high fortification gives visitors panoramic views that the first Romans might have seen when they landed in Kent.

English Heritage has intricately reconstructed the ancient Roman defence exactly above the site of the original Credit: English Heritage

Richborough Fort is a hugely significant Roman site in Britain, often referred to as the ‘gateway to Britannia’.

English Heritage's Senior Properties Historian Paul Pattison said: “To be able to rebuild a structure as accurately as possible, and one that stands on the exact spot of the original at Richborough almost 2000 years ago, is remarkable.

"The Roman invasion was a major milestone in our history.

"We know that Richborough witnessed over 360 years of Roman rule – from the very beginning to the bitter end – but standing atop this 8m-high gateway, looking out and imagining what the first Romans might have seen, is quite an experience.”

Views from Richborough Fort imagining what the first Roman invaders may have seen Credit: English Heritage

At the time of the invasion, Richborough was a small island which became the location of a large fortification, discovered by archaeologists in the 1920s.

As the main entry point to Britain from mainland Europe, the site transitioned from a military base to a thriving port town, originally the size of over 50 football pitches, and back to a military base again over the course of its 360 years’ history.

The collection of objects found at Richborough is one of the largest for any Roman site in the country, including an extraordinary 450 brooches, over 1,000 hairpins, and 56,000 coins.

Other rare treasures include delicate women's hairpins in gold and finely crafted bone that were introduced by Romans as new fashions.