Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Roman ruins found under theatre


Roman ruins unearthed by builders

An ancient Roman ruin has been discovered by builders working on the £25.6m redevelopment of the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.

The townhouse, thought to date from between the late second and early third Centuries, is believed to have belonged to a wealthy citizen.

Archaeologists found the remains of the building's under-floor heating, leather shoes, seeds and a plate.

Experts will examine the remains before the redevelopment work resumes.

'High quality'

Archaeologist James Holman said: "It's quite unexpected.

"It's very unusual to find buildings of this type in this area of Canterbury, this side of the River Stour.

"It is a very high quality building, it would have had heated floors."

But he added: "A lot of it has been disturbed by earlier buildings, when they built this theatre in the 30s and when it was redeveloped in the 80s.

"A lot of the archaeology has been removed so there isn't enough of it left to preserve it in situ."

In March the owners of the Marlowe Theatre were given permission to build a 1,200-seat auditorium and a second 150-seat performance space on the current site.

The £25.6m redevelopment of the venue has been backed by host of stars from stage, screen and television.

In June Sonia Copeland-Bloom, the mother of actor Orlando Bloom, announced she was selling some of his possessions to raise money for the scheme.

Bloom appeared at the Marlowe Theatre early in his acting career and is now one of its patrons.

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