"Colour, bling, excess" at Wroxeter Roman house

A new reconstruction of a Roman house at Wroxeter, England has raised more than a few eyebrows, especially when the bright red and yellow building can be seen from a mile away. (photo)

"Colour, bling, excess – that's what they liked," said Dai Morgan Evans, visiting professor of archaeology at Chester University, who dreamed up the elaborate experiment yet attempted in Britain in recreating a building using genuine Roman techniques. "I always had the hope that a Roman would come here and not see anything too funny. I reckon we got it about 80% right."

The color isn't the only controversial aspect of the build. Builders on the site insisted on using wheelbarrows, a tool not available to Roman builders. "They absolutely did not have wheelbarrows," Evans said. "I've done a lot of work on this now. They had wheelbarrows in China, but there is no record, drawing or evidence for a wheelbarrow anywhere in the Roman empire. The first reference I can find is Isidore of Seville, and that's in the seventh century – centuries after our house."