Professor Stephen Rippon

Exeter archaeologist contributes to new Roman Britain TV programme

A new TV programme telling the story of what life was like for Romans and Britons 2000 years ago involves a unique journey across Britain by helicopter with commentary from a University of Exeter archaeologist. ‘Roman Britain from the Air’ is on ITV at 8pm on 23 December.

The programme is presented by Christine Bleakley and historian Dr Michael Scott, with assistance from University of Exeter archaeologist Professor Stephen Rippon, who advised on the making of ‘Roman Britain from the Air’.

The Romans have left a legacy that’s lasted 1600 years. From Hadrian’s Wall to the 6000 seat Amphitheatre at Caerleon, Britain has some of the most remarkable Roman remains in Europe. Professor Rippon and Bleakley will take to the skies in a helicopter to see the Roman remains that are best viewed from the air.

Their journey takes in sites in Wales and visits fascinating places including the best-preserved Roman legionary barracks anywhere in Europe, the best-preserved outdoor Amphitheatre in Britain and Roman town walls that stretches for over a mile.

Professor Rippon shows just how much evidence from the Roman period survives in the landscape today, and even some of the modern fields on the nearby reclaimed marshland of the Gwent Levels date back to the Roman period. He advised on the making of the programme and joins the presenters in interpreting what can be seen of Roman Britain from the air.

Professor Rippon said of the experience:“Being up in the air gives you a remarkable perspective on the landscape, and one that is very different to being on the ground. It is easier to see the whole picture from above, in contrast to being on the ground when you often can’t see the wood for the trees. This programme also shows that there is a surprising amount of evidence of Roman Britain that survives both within our towns and the countryside: yes, the Romans did rather a lot for us!”

Date: 20 December 2014

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