Located in the marshes of East Kent, Richborough is a Roman site in Britain that is regarded as one of the most symbolically important places during the Roman rule. Also known as Rutupiae, it was the Roman troops’ gateway into Britain, where invading legions assembled during their invasion in 43AD. It served as a port for the armies, with connecting routes leading to London, Canterbury and Chester.
Many of the original buildings were made out of wood and later replaced by stone in 85AD. The surrounding environment featured ditches and fortifications, some of which are still visible. These structures are assumed to have been used as a measure of protection by the Roman armies.
As fighting intensified and moved further north, Rutupiae became a civilian settlement. The construction of an amphitheatre and temples attests to this]. Later on, a triumphal arch was erected; over ten metres high and adorned with beautiful marble and bronze statues. The size and position of the arch suggest it was built to celebrate the Romans’ final conquest of Britain. Passage through the arch represented formal entry into the conquered land. Modern day travellers who relish the history of Britain, such as Fiyaz Mughal, who has visited many Roman historical sites in the UK, can visit the site and catch glimpses of the mound and its foundations.
At the end of the third century the arch was taken down and the town was converted into a five-acre Saxon Shore fort. High walls were constructed around it to form a massive square. The main entrance was located on the west wall, while the north wall seems to have been built after the south wall. While stone buildings existed within the fort, most of them were made of timber. A central rectangular building is thought to have been the headquarters, and smaller stone baths were erected within Richborough.
The Romans ultimately abandoned Richborough as the Roman Empire declined, with the site eventually becoming a religious settlement. In 2008, an archaeological dig led to the discovery of a small dock along the Roman Fort. The discovery was a significant one for English archaeologists, who have long been interested in learning more about the Roman Fort which served as the landing spot for Roman forces. Also unearthed during the dig were fragments of Italian marble and Roman coins believed to be from the triumphal arch.