Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

Section navigation

Episode Guides

Six builders attempt to build an authentic Roman villa working with only the tools and materials that the Romans themselves would have used

About the Show

Six builders attempt to build an authentic Roman villa working with only the tools and materials that the Romans themselves would have used

Series 1 Summary

Foreman Jim, plasterer Tim, plumber Kevin, carpenter Fred, brickie Darren and labourer Ben are going to try to construct the first authentic Roman villa in Britain in 1,600 years, using only tools and materials that were available to the Romans.

The villa is for English Heritage and they have just six months for the job. In a venture of enormous ambition, the builders will test archaeologists' theories about how the Romans really built: the villa will have working under-floor heating, a bath house, frescoes and mosaics.

All this without power tools, and aided by a manual of Roman building, written in 25BC by the engineer Vitruvius. The villa will be built at Wroxeter in Shropshire, once a major Roman city.

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 1

    Prof. Dai Morgan Evans strips the builders of most of their modern tools and shows them how to make sure the gods approve the site before they start to learn a new range of ancient skills

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 2

    The six skilled builders trying to construct an authentic Roman villa, using only ancient technology, tackle the epitome of Roman sophistication: the bath house.

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 3

    The builders face the most challenging and dangerous phase of the project, constructing the giant timber frame for their authentic Roman villa, using the tools the Romans would have had.

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 4

    The builders race to get the roof on their Roman villa before the weather breaks, and explore their artistic sides as they work on the mosaic floor, fresco wall and good-luck phallus.

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 5

    Six builders try to construct a Roman villa, using only authentic tools and materials. The bath house is nearly finished, but a test run of the under-floor heating ends with thick smoke.

  • Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

    Episode 6

    The final push is on to get the Roman villa completed before winter. But the plaster won't set, the mosaic tiles won't stick and cracking noises are coming from the hypocaust floor.