Trip brings Latin to life

QE boys enjoyed a visit to the huge Roman palace where scenes in their Latin textbooks are set.

The trip to Fishbourne Palace in West Sussex was the first QE trip in support of Latin learning for many years and it follows the School’s reintroduction of Latin as a full part of the curriculum in 2012.

Forty-five Year 8 pupils went on the trip and enjoyed activities including pottery-making and dressing up in Roman clothes during a talk from archaeologists.

""The 45 boys and four members of the Languages department took the coach to the Palace in the village of Fishbourne, near Chichester. Built in the 1st century AD and extensively altered in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Fishbourne Palace is by far the largest Roman residence known north of the Alps, with a larger footprint than Buckingham Palace. Little is known for certain about who lived in the Palace, but it remained in use for more than 200 years before it was abandoned after sustaining serious damage during alterations in around 270 AD. The Palace was first excavated in the 1960s.

During the trip, boys were shown a film on the history of the site, enjoyed a visit to the mosaics and gardens of the Palace and spent time in the site museum built by the Sussex Archaeological Society. The remains include a perfectly preserved mosaic of a cupid on a dolphin in the north wing.

""In an entertaining artefact-handling activity, the QE party learned more about how archaeologists can determine information from what they dig up, during which some of the boys were able to dress up as a Romano-British prince.

In the clay-making activity, they used Roman techniques to make an oil lamp, dice & counters and a pot.

Dr Helen Shephard, who organised the trip, said: “The trip certainly helped bring to life the Latin we have been studying this year, particularly as the stories in our Cambridge Latin Course textbook are set in this very Palace.”