About Dewa Roman Experience
Built on the former site of an ancient Roman fort, Dewa Roman Experience is a hands-on archaeological site containing a number of artefacts and remains from Roman Chester.
Dewa Roman Experience history
The ‘Dewa’ or ‘Deva’ Roman fort at Chester was a strategic base for the Roman army in around 50 AD, and was initially a small fort used to defend Chester’s harbour and crossing point of the river Dee during campaigns against tribes in Wales. The name ‘Deva’ in Latin means ‘Holy One’, and takes its name from the river.
The Romans based themselves at Chester temporarily at first, as resources were diverted to dealing with the Boudiccan uprisings in 60 AD. A permanent military presence was established soon after however, as the Romans attempted to conquer Britain in its entirety. The Second Legion was later stationed in Chester in around 78 AD, but was withdrawn in 87 AD to help defend the Rhine frontier.
The Romans set great store by fighting conflicts at sea – Chester’s excellent harbour was therefore ideally suited as a base, and was subsequently developed into a major military centre. Its importance was highlighted when the Romans chose it as the intended point of departure for a planned invasion of Ireland, although this plan never came to fruition.
In around 90 AD the fort was occupied by the Twentieth Legion, and the legionary depot was rebuilt in stone. The Twentieth Legion was involved in campaigns against the Picts in Scotland whilst stationed in Chester, as well as periodically being involved in refurbishment work until the Romans’ departure from Britain in the 5th century.
Dewa Roman Experience today
Today, visitors to Dewa Roman Experience have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Roman Chester. The fort was excavated in 1991, and now allows visitors to wander through its streets and explore its archaeological remains, but not before beginning the trip with a virtual journey aboard a Roman galley!
There is a museum on site, and visitors can also take part in a number of historical themed activities, such as trying on Roman armour, firing a catapult, and creating a mosaic. Additionally there is a soldier patrol, where visitors may experience life as a soldier, preparing for battle and defending a Roman amphitheatre.
Getting to Dewa Roman Experience
Dewa Roman Experience is located in Chester city centre just off Bridge Street, with parking available at the Little Roodee Car Park a 7-minute walk away. Chester train station is a 17-minute walk to the site, while a number of bus services run to the nearby Pepper Street stop, a 2-minute walk away.