As a regular visitor to Chester Zoo, I like to pause when visiting their Roman gardens beside Oakfield House. As well as Roman fountains and statues, there are ‘Roman’ plants and borders. There are ‘Roman columns’ and a canopied area. Given this is a zoo, it is apposite that many of the classical statuary are of lions and horses.
As with other accessible bodies of water in the zoo, coins are tipped into the fountains by visitors, often a practice navigated by children.
There are panels explaining the gardens as well as a distinctive pairing of commemorative dimensions. On one side is a metal memorial tree against the wall, many of its leaves are inscribed with a name of a zoo supporter (or to be more accurate, someone commemorated by a zoo supporter).
Second, on the wall is a plaque commemorating the opening of the gardens by David Rudkin, the now-retired director of Fishbourne Roman Palace.
This makes me wonder how many public buildings and spaces have been formally opened by archaeologists in their capacity as archaeologists? How many make it on to the foundation plaques?