Butser Ancient Farm recently launched a brand new campaign to renovate their iconic Roman villa. Built in 2003, the villa starred in the famous ‘Rebuilding the Past’ documentary on the Discovery Channel, a show that was watched by thousands of people across the country. Thirteen years later, the farm now welcomes 30,000 schoolchildren and 20,000 visitors every year – and the heavy footfall is starting to show! The building is used for teaching children, special interest lectures, cookery workshops, archaeological research and as the headquarters of our own Roman re-enactment group. The Butser team are now raising money to renovate the villa and bring it back to its former glory as the home of a wealthy Roman Briton and his family.
The renovation project will allow the walls to be completed, taken right up to roof level and finished with lime plaster. The floors will be levelled and a layer of opus signinum (a sort of Roman concrete) added. Finally, the roof will be repaired and the outside of the building restored. All progress will be shared throughout the project via social media, the Butser blog, and through publicly-accessible academic research papers. The project will pave the way for future schemes on the site, such as laying authentic mosaic floors to impress the high-flyers of Roman society, and a beautiful Roman garden in the space outside the villa. These projects will also involve the help of a fantastic team of volunteers, enabling them to learn new skills and be part of a truly unique experience.
February 2017 – The work has finally started on our renovation project! John Grant from Airstrip spent the February half term sandblasting all the timber beams throughout the building. Click here to read Mary’s blog about the sandblasting stage.
August 2016 – We launched a brand new fundraising campaign to renovate our Roman villa. They kickstarted the campaign with a crowdfunder on IndieGoGo, and successfully managed to beat the initial £2,000 target, which will pay for sandblasting the beams to enhance the wood and remove flaky paint. The cost of all the renovation work is £100,000 but it is the beams that need to be cleaned up first. The next stage of renovation will start at the end of May 2017 with the aim to complete by September 2017 ready for a grand opening, followed by our busiest school season of the year.
It is not too late to donate!