Roman brewery timbers on display

FOR 1800 years these timbers of a Roman brewery have hidden away underground but now they're done roamin' and are on display in Ipswich museum.The timbers, believed to be from a Roman brewery have evoked spirits of a bygone era.

FOR 1800 years these timbers of a Roman brewery have hidden away underground but now they're done roamin' and are on display in Ipswich museum.

The timbers, believed to be from a Roman brewery have evoked spirits of a bygone era.

The roof timbers are believed to date back to 200 years after the birth of Christ and conjure images of toga-laden men working the maltings.

They are the only surviving roof timbers from the era found in Britain and prove Suffolk's history as a brewing county dates back more than 1,000 years.


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The 1,800-year-old roof timbers were unearthed near Oakley, in North Suffolk, in 1994 and were freeze-dried in Norway to preserve them.

They were then impregnated with a special wax called carbowax - the amber nectar of the archaeology world.

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It is not alcohol which has preserved them for all these years though, they have survived because they were buried in water-logged soil

They are now on display with other Roman Britain artefacts at Ipswich Museum in High Street and according to museum officials they are probably the best Roman exhibits they have ever displayed.

Bob Entwhistle, conservator at the museum, said: "This is a unique find and underlines the museum's reputation.

"We have been chosen to exhibit them because we are the biggest museum in the Suffolk area and the most archaeological.

"This has great archaeological significance.

"We have already had a lot of enquiries and are expecting several visits to Ipswich by leading archaeologists.

"They believe they came from a brewery or malting probably because of what they found when they were excavating.

"It was by a stream and everything points to a brewery."

Mr Entwistle organised the display and was helped by colleagues and volunteers Dominique Rogers, Carrie Willis and David Samways.

N Have you found anything unusual in Suffolk? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Circa 200AD: The timber is believed to have formed the roof of a Roman brewery dating from 200AD.

3rd century: The crisis of the third century rocked the Roman Empire.

5th century: Attila the Hun conquered large parts of Europe.

7th century: Islam began in Arabia and the Qur'an was written.

9th century: Viking attacks of Europe.

11th century: Norman Conquest in 1066.

13th century: Marco Polo reached China.

14th century: The Black Death kills about a third of the population of Europe.

15th century: Henry VII founded the Tudor dynasty.

16th century: Henry VIII breaks with the Roman Catholic Church and forms the Church of England.

18th century: The Kingdom of Great Britain is formed in 1707.

19th century: The Battle of Waterloo takes place in 1815, defeating Napoleon.

20th century: The First World War and Second World War take place in Europe.

21st century: The timber is found in Oakley, Suffolk and exhibited in Ipswich Museum.

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