Travel Back in Time to the World's Greatest Empire

06 December 2012

On 8 December 2012, the South Australian Museum will invite you to step back in time to an era in which science and mathematics changed the course of history.

Ancient Rome was rich with cultural and engineering expertise and was home to some of the world's greatest inventions.

Visitors of all ages will get hands-on experience with models of amazing Ancient Roman machines, and admire the artwork and military uniforms of the era.

Our special summer exhibition, Built Tough: The Awesome Roman Empire explores the magnificent technology and lifestyle of Rome nearly 2000 years ago that prepared cities for construction and armies for battle.

South Australian Museum Director Professor Suzanne Miller says "this collection provides an exciting opportunity to observe and interact with technology from a fascinating era. Items such as the water wheel, ball-bearings, sundials, catapults, the Colosseum and Roman archways will teach you how many of the things you see in our world today were designed and built. It's a wonderful opportunity for families to learn about science and history together."

The engineers of the time paved the way for industrial and cultural revolutions.

Visitors will be able to follow a journey through Roman life within four theme areas:

  1. Building Rome - the devices that contributed to this phase of massive construction and industrialisation
  2. Roman Roads – a collection of interactive machines -measuring, transportation and communication
  3. Military Genius – the Roman army's discipline, tactics, communications and war machines
  4. Culture & Lifestyle - the Colosseum, gladiators, frescoes, time-keeping, and education.

Explore war technology and learn about gladiators and weapons. Gladiator fights were not the only game of the time: Romans played with counters and dice as well. If you're visiting the Museum during our School Holiday Program, come and try your hand at Roman board games.

The South Australian Museum has its own collection of real Roman artefacts, which will be featured outside the special exhibition in our Spotlight series.

Foreign Ethnology Collection Manager Aphrodite Rose says "the Roman Empire (27BC–476AD) influenced many regions of the world. The South Australian Museum has acquired Roman items from Britain, Egypt, Gaul (France and the Rhineland), and of course, Italy.

"We are fortunate to have artefacts from the Imperial Family and the Colosseum. There are ceramic objects such as oil lamps, vessels and sculptures, as well as coins, metal, glass, bricks, tiles and mosaic pieces, such as those from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy. These objects show us something of the daily lives of the ancient Romans, from the Emperor to the local populace of the time."

The exhibition is open from 8 December 2012 to 11 March 2013, 10am to 5pm daily. It will be closed on Christmas Day.

Entry is $13 adults, $10 concession, $7 children (5-16), $30 family (2+2). School groups please call 8207 7429.