Builders appearing in a new TV series that aims to find out if they can reconstruct a Roman villa using only tools and materials from 20AD, have received a helping hand from Sandtoft Roof Tiles.
Starting on 20 January on Channel 4, 'Rome Wasn't Built in a Day' brings together six craftsmen to experience what it would have been like to build a Roman villa in ancient times using only the most basic tools, materials and construction methods.
Sandtoft's specialist heritage team has provided expert advice and training to the craftsmen, including how to make the traditional Tegula and Imbrex clay roof tiles by hand.
A total of 1474 Tegula tiles and 1206 Imbrex tiles in Natural Red have since been handmade at Sandtoft's Broomfleet factory and will appear on the 'Villa Urbana' – a high status Roman town house.
Nigel Dyer, Sandtoft's heritage manager, said: "It's been great to share our expertise with the construction experts involved in this project. We hope that the programme will highlight the technical skill required to make these traditional tiles, including the trimming of the edges, which is done using a taught wire of a small bow."
The villa has been built in Wroxeter, Shropshire, the fourth largest Roman city in Britain and will mark the 1600th anniversary of the Romans leaving Britain. It will be open to the public from 19th February 2011.
The site for the construction was chosen after close consultation with English Heritage and filming took place in the early summer of 2010 after planning approval was granted.
The villa was built on top of a protective platform above the ground to prevent the underlying archaeology of the area being disturbed.
Sandtoft's heritage team provided a specialist conservation and restoration service, including bespoke handmade clay roof tiles and fittings.
The craftsmen draw on generations of experience, blending their expertise with 21st Century design tools to reproduce historic roofing products.
Great emphasis has been is placed on retaining traditional skills and methods, resulting in tiles and fittings that not only match Sandtoft's exacting standards, but those of conservation bodies and local planners.