The towering Roman gate re-built in Kent, 2,000 years after it originally went up

A Roman gateway has been erected in Kent, exactly 1,980 years after its original incarnation. James Fisher reports.

A reconstructed Roman gateway and rampart, which will provide ‘panoramic views’ across Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre in Kent, has opened. The gateway, which stands some 26ft tall, has been built on the exact spot of one built for the original fortification in 43AD.

In 2021, archaeologists discovered large holes in the Roman ground surface that had held the large timber posts of the first gateway and, with the help of archaeological evidence, as well as Roman sculptural sources, English Heritage has intricately reconstructed the structure. The new gateway has been constructed in oak, using Roman-style dovetail, lap and scarf joints, and takes inspiration from depictions of Roman fortifications on Trajan’s Column in Rome, Italy.

‘This is a historic moment,’ says Paul Pattison, senior properties historian at English Heritage. ‘To be able to rebuild a structure as accurately as possible, and one that stands on the exact spot of the original at Richborough almost 2,000 years ago, is remarkable.

‘The Roman invasion was a major milestone in our history. We know that Richborough witnessed more than 360 years of Roman rule — from the very beginning to the bitter end — but standing atop this gateway, looking out and imagining what the first Romans might have seen, is quite an experience.’

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Richborough was the principal entry point to Britain from mainland Europe during Roman times and was originally built to defend the first landing site for Roman forces in the UK. The site transitioned from a fort to a thriving port town before returning to use as a military base during its 360 years of use.

Also on the site, a new museum will showcase previously unseen artefacts from the collection found at Richborough, exploring the site’s history from the beginning to the end of Roman rule.

See more details and visiting hours at

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