New smart phone app lays bare Londinium

Mon Aug 8, 2011 8:59am EDT
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By Julie Mollins

LONDINIUM (Reuters) - Finding London's Roman ruins amid the tangled network of streets and lanes that make up the ancient part of a contemporary city is a challenge for even the most experienced urban explorer.

Now, a free mobile application for the iPhone, iPad and Android created by the Museum of London, helps history buffs find sites built between 43 A.D. and the 5th century, during which Rome abandoned the walled city as its empire collapsed.

The app also has up to 200 images of artifacts from the museum's collection, which can be shared on Twitter or Facebook.

"Streetmuseum Londinium" works by overlaying a Roman-era map of the old City of London and Southwark -- the borough on the south side of the Thames River -- onto a present-day Google map allowing navigation using a satellite navigation tool, also known as a Global Positioning System (GPS).

Users can find the underground location of such sites as the Temple of Mithras, amphitheatre, forum and basilica, central to Roman civic life, and long since buried under a 20-foot (6.09 meter) build up of ground surface and modern structures.

Rubbing a spot on the map will reveal artifacts discovered at the site during archeological excavations.

They can also navigate a route to see the above-ground remains of Cripplegate Fort, traverse the route of the old wall and Borough High Street in Southwark.

"The app is going to tell people about so many different aspects of Roman life, from what sort of underpants Romans wore, to how they were buried, to how they lit their homes, to what sort of food they ate," Roy Stephenson, head of archaeological collections at the Museum of London.   Continued...

<p>Roman mourners recreated in Spitalfield, a scene from the Museum of London's Streetmuseum Londinium. REUTERS/History Television</p>