My name is Michael Fulford and I am a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading and a Trustee of Oglander Roman Trust. Some sixty or so years ago at school on the Island our Latin teacher, Mr Wharton, told us about Roman Britain. I already knew about Julius Caesar and his invasions of 55 and 54 BC, but to hear about the Emperor Claudius and the almost four hundred year-long Roman occupation which followed came as a revelation! I wanted to find out more….
I was in luck – a short bike ride away from our home in St Helens was the Roman Villa at Brading, then housed in a rusting, corrugated iron shed, a far cry from the magnificent building which protects it today.I can remember the excitement of my first visit and seeing the mosaics, the finds, and putting a penny down the Roman well! Further visits followed and my appetite was whetted to explore all things Roman on the Island, with visits to other sites like the villas, partly exposed, at Carisbrooke and Shide, Newport, or to the beach at Gurnard Bay to see if anything was left of the Roman building swept into the sea. Later, I went to University in Southampton as one of the first cohort of students to study archaeology there under Professor Barry Cunliffe – and so began my career in archaeology.