The Romans of Devon are Coming to Torquay Museum

The Romans of Devon are Coming to Torquay Museum

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Torquay Museum is set to take you back in time and question our heritage with their latest exhibition Ipplepen: New Discoveries On The Edge Of The Roman Empire.

Torquay Museum have teamed up with The British Museum and the University of Exeter for their latest exhibition which explores Roman History in Devon. The exhibition is based on metal detectorists Dennis Hewings and Jim Wills, who found 74 Roman coins, between 2007 and 2010, at a multi-period archaeological site at Ipplepen. The sheer number of coins led to a geophysical survey of the area and archaeological excavations led by the University of Exeter followed.

This fascinating exhibition explores the belief that the region of Devon was relatively untouched by the Romans… well, evidently not. The exhibition contains innovative graphic interpretation about this developing area of knowledge with a selection of items from the Ipplepen find, loans from The British Museum and items from across the Roman Empire held within Torquay Museum's extensive collections. We spoke to Researcher - David Wills - to find out more about the exhibiton.


What inspired the exhibition Ipplepen: New Discoveries On The Edge Of The Roman Empire?

The discovery of the multi-period site at Ipplepen by local metal detectorists and the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the subsequent University of Exeter excavations, have created a lot on interest locally, we want to present something to the general public at this interim stage of the investigations. It’s a very exciting discovery. Ipplepen is really rewriting what we know about of the Roman occupation in South Devon, and to an extent how we may understand the Roman invasion in this region. It’s a very important site.

What has it been like working with The British Museum and University of Exeter?

For the museum it has been a great experience to be working with top academics in their fields. They bring a wealth of subject knowledge and amazing insights into the objects we are displaying and the stories we can tell.

What can we expect to see in the exhibition?

Visitors will see a range of objects found at Ipplepen, as well as items from other local Roman-British sites. There are fantastic objects from The British Museum to help illustrate the story of the invasion and there are human remains and reconstructed costumes. Children will be able to try on copies of Roman legionary armour. We also have a film made by the local Young Archaeologists Club. The archaeology on our doorstep can still reveal new stories from the past and the importance of looking after our shared heritage.

There will be a Roman Day on the opening of the exhibition on Saturday 16th March starting at 10.00 am. We have a Day Conference on Rethinking Romans in Devon on Saturday 30th March (already sold out). Look out for more events throughout the season on our Facebook page and website.


Ipplepen: New Discoveries On The Edge Of The Roman Empire starts on the 16th March and runs all the way to 30th September 2019. This has all been made possible through the generous support of the National Lottery Fund, The British Museum and the University of Exeter. To stay up-to-date with the upcoming exhibition then visit Torquay Museum’s website.

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