Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Home to the Forest of Dean and much of the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire has one of the finest concentrations of Early Neolithic monuments in Britain. Iron Age hillforts are also to be found, while following the arrival of Romans, the area saw the growth of two major new towns, Corinium (Cirencester) and Glevum (Gloucester). After the collapse of the Roman administration, indigenous groups reasserted their dominance, although Anglo-Saxon groups subsequently came to power in the early middle ages. Like much of England, Gloucestershire has its share of medieval castles and churches, as well as early modern country houses. In the 19th century the iron ore under the Forest of Dean led to an expansion of industry and the railways.

Archaeology & History Sites in Gloucestershire

Chedworth Roman Villa

The Roman Villa at Chedworth is thought to be one of the largest of its kind in Britain, and one of the richest in the 4th century AD. During your visit you can see a number of well preserved features of a typical Roman villa; these include a latrine, bath houses, a dining room with magnificent mosaic floors, as well as a nymphaeum – a shrine sited at a natural spring. On a wet day you might even encounter some large snails, these are the very descendants of those introduced by the Romans for food.

Cirencester Amphitheatre

On the outskirts of Cirencester are the remains of what was one of the largest amphitheatres in Roman Britain. At its maximum capacity it could have held around 8,000 people, there to watch animals and gladiators fight and be killed. It was fortified in the 5th century AD, a period of great turbulence. In the Middle Ages, the amphitheatre was converted into a rabbit warren and may also have been used for bull-bating. The site has been excavated by archaeologists and is freely accessible for those who want to visit.

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Museums & Art Galleries in Gloucestershire

Corinium Museum

An award-wining museum in the centre of Cirencester that displays the archaeology of the Cotswolds. From Prehistoric, Stone Age tools to Roman mosaics, from Anglo Saxon grave goods to Medieval sculpture. The museum takes its name from what the Roman called Cirencester. As the second largest town in Roman Britain, the Corinium Museum has one of the largest and finest collections of Roman antiquities in England, in particular an exquisite collection of 4th century CE mosaic floors.