Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets - Ben Miller & Cllr Jenny Forde

Ben Miller Opens Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets at the Corinium Museum

Ben Miller, the actor, declared Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets exhibition is now OPEN at Corinium Museum, Cirencester, Gloucestershire. This is the first 'touring' exhibition at the Museum and runs from October 2022 to 23 April 2023. 

Ben comments, “I couldn’t be prouder of this museum. As small and perfectly formed as the town it serves, a place where you can immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Cotswolds, a local museum that is truly a national treasure. And as if the fascinating Stone Age, Iron Age, Bronze Age, and Roman exhibits weren’t enough, now with added Gladiators.”

Along with Ben Miller, The Ermine Street Guard, and Legio Secunda Augusta – Gladiator re-enactors - added theatre to the evening allowing supporters of the Museum to come together to open and launch this unique exhibition. These included Friends of Corinium Museum, President Earl Bathurst, and not forgetting, Honorary Member Ben Miller; representatives from Everyone Active; and The Winstone Trust committee members. 

Dr. Ives succinctly sums it up on behalf of the Winstone Trust: "The Winstone Trust is delighted to have helped with funding this special exhibition. The people of Cirencester are blessed with having a small but world-class museum in its midst. This new exhibition is an excellent example of the continuing work done by the Museum to make our history visible and accessible to the people of Cirencester and our visitors. We hope everyone visiting will find the experience both educational and enjoyable." 

Their arrival of these skeletons marks the launch of the Corinium Museum's Gladiators: A Cemetery of Secrets exhibition, a touring exhibition from The JORVIK Group of Attractions, operators of the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre.

Gladiators close up (warning - human remains)

Dr. Katharine Walker, Museum Director, says, "In keeping with this theme of gladiators is a rich programme of events and activities running over the next 6 months. We have gladiator re-enactment days led by our friends, Legio Secunda Augusta, during the October half term and more throughout the exhibition, and look out for gladiator school. We are also proud to work with an award-winning contemporary artist Olivier Jamin to produce British Sign Language videos to accompany the exhibition. This has been funded through the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives that have also helped us to provide 100 free family tickets to the Museum to 5 local charities, including the Foodbank. Thank you to St James's Place for their financial contribution to this. None of this would have been possible without the financial support of the Friends of Corinium Museum, Everyone Active, and the Winstone Trust. We are hugely grateful to them for their continued support."

Jenny Forde, Councillor, Cotswold District Council, comments, "We ask that you pass on the news that this exhibition is here until 23 April 2023 and is well worth a visit. This is such an excellent opportunity to give a boost to our economy here in Cirencester. The Museum is a fantastic, warm, and beautiful space to visit during the winter months, and the opportunity to see Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets – is here."

Earl Bathurst, President of Corinium Museum, concludes, "As President, we are delighted to support this event, and we encourage all to visit this exhibition, particularly, children and grandchildren, who will find this time in history, to be fascinating, albeit a bit gruesome!"

To pre-book your tickets and for more information, please visit

Contact Information

Cotswold District Council Communications Team

Notes to editors

More about Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets Exhibition

Visitors will discover more about eighty burials which were unearthed in York in 2004 from a Roman-age cemetery. Archaeological opinion varies on whether the men were soldiers, criminals, slaves or gladiators; the exhibition presents the evidence, which includes scientific analysis, cut marks, animal bites and blunt force trauma to the bone highlighted through six of these skeletons.

The Roman period comes to life, as the team at Corinium Museum invites visitors to engage more closely with it through unique archaeological finds. Whatever your age, you will be able to assess the evidence for yourselves through a range of AV material, including facial reconstructions, CT scans, and interviews, and deduce from your findings as to which skeletons were, in fact, gladiators!


Gladiator Re-enactment for Families at the Corinium Museum

The Corinium Museum welcome live Gladiators to the museum for the October/February half-term/Easter holidays 10-4pm.

  • 25th, 26th and 27th October 2022
  • 21st, 22nd and 23rd February 2023
  • 12th, 13th and 14th April 2023

Re-enactment group LEGIO SECUNDA AUGUSTA will take over Corinium Museum’s hare gallery with their Gladiator shows during the school holidays. With talks and Gladiatorial combat suitable for families, the group will bring the Gladiators: A Cemetery of Secrets exhibition from Jorvik to life for museum visitors. Expect shouting and mayhem as activities, that once took place in amphitheatres across the Roman Empire, are revived once again.

Members of LEGIO SECUNDA AUGUSTA will showcase props and combat moves with their interactive show. A Gladiator building will have dozens of artefacts to handle and children will have the chance to dress up. Crowd control will be overseen by Roman soldiers guarding the galleries and a living history display will allow visitors to learn more about Roman life. Children are invited to search for the ‘We Are the Romans’ family trail, created in partnership with Welbeck Publishing and illustrated by World Book Day artist, Allen Fatimaharan with text by author, David Long.

Armed with the knowledge of the Roman period and full Gladiator kit, the reenactors invite you to visit the museum to enjoy their theatrical Gladiator shows this holiday. For more information about the group visit LEGIO SECUNDA AUGUSTA

Advance admission tickets are available from Cost: Included in admission


Thank you to our sponsors of Gladiators – A Cemetery of Secrets

  • The Winstone Trust
  • St James’s Place
  • Everyone Active
  • Friends of Corinium Museum
  • Relish


About Corinium Museum

The Corinium Museum is located at the heart of Cirencester, the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds’. The principal collection consists of highly significant finds from the Roman town of Corinium. However, the Museum today is much more than that, taking you on a journey through time and charting the development of the Cotswolds from its prehistoric landscape to the modern-day. 

  • Corinium Museum is owned and funded by Cotswold District Council.
  • Everyone Active manages Corinium Museum in partnership with Cotswold District Council.



  • Cirencester Business & Community Awards – Small Business of the Year – Winner
  • Cirencester Business & Community Awards – Front of House Team – Winner
  • Cirencester Business & Community Awards – Environmental Project of the Year – Runner-up
  • Association of Cultural Enterprises - Children’s Guidebook - Finalist
  • SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards - Cultural Venue of the Year - Finalist
  • South West Tourism Excellence Awards –Small Attraction of the Year – Bronze

Discover the Archaeology of the Cotswolds – a New Visitor Journey

The award-winning Museum, renowned for its Roman Cirencester collections and exhibits, is travelling further back in time with the intentionally darker and dramatic ‘Stone Age to Corinium’ galleries that showcase the fantastic artefacts of this period. The new displays incorporate some old favourites alongside remarkable and previously unseen objects. Each object has a unique story to tell about a person, a place, or a technology, with some recognised as the oldest finds of their kind in the British Isles. Over 600 fascinating objects and artefacts charting early Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age through to early Roman times, are now exhibited in modern, airy, and interactive galleries. 

  • Meet Rusty the dog, discovered in 2008 by Oxford Archaeology on the north-eastern edge of Cirencester; the dog, an adult male, aged between 1-3 years, was probably a working animal used for herding and guarding. The skeleton is believed to be most like a modern terrier. Dating set’s it to between 400-200 BC. A team of archaeologists, conservators, and museum curators have worked together to bring this ancient dog to display at Corinium Museum in December 2021. It is only a small number on display in museums across Britain. 
  • The Corinium Museum shop has an extensive range of unique gift ideas and is home to Cirencester’s Visitor Information Centre.
  • The gallery at Corinium Museum is a space for artists and local crafts with a rolling calendar of exhibitions.
  • An extensive events programme that includes talks, workshops, walks, and cinema screenings.
  • Get a copy of the award-winning Corinium Museum’s Explorers guide.
  • Download the audio guide on your I-phone and listen to Ben Miller, actor, talk you through some of these amazing artefacts to be seen at Corinium Museum.


JORVIK: About York Archaeological Trust:

York Archaeological Trust (YAT), is a self-funded educational charity and leading professional archaeological organisation operating across the UK and abroad. Founded in 1972, it has a reputation for delivering high-quality investigation, research and public engagement from offices in York, Nottingham, Sheffield and Glasgow.

YAT provides exceptional fieldwork and conservation services through its York Archaeology commercial archaeology services and curates one of the largest archaeological collections outside of London.

It operates successful, unique heritage attractions in York under The JORVIK Group banner including the world-famous JORVIK Viking Centre, DIG, Barley Hall and City Walls Experience. It also operates the largest Viking Festival in Europe and provides tailored touring exhibitions to various clients including private museums, local councils and charities.

With extensive public, community and educational audiences, its work is made accessible through digital, interactive, experiential and discovery-based learning opportunities. Through these channels it engages with over 1.2 million people across the world, helping communities of all ages, demographics and interests to enjoy learning about their past.

For more information please visit: