A GHOST hunt will be taking place this evening at a Roman palace – and people can tune in from the comfort of their own home.

The ghost hunt, which is at Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens, will take place from 7.30pm as paranormal experts Dark Encounters livestream the hunt, with people able to join virtually through their Facebook page.

It will be the first time a ghost hunt has taken place at the palace, which dates from 75 CE and is the largest Roman home ever discovered in Britain, and once stood as the grandest Roman palace in northern Europe.

Melanie Marsh, property manager at Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens, said: “It’s incredibly exciting as we’ve never had a ghost hunt here at the palace before. This will be the first of many, as we are planning a series of group ghost hunts in person next year.

“There are lots of ghost stories from around the site – several staff members have reported sightings of mysterious figures in the area where the bath house was.”

The winter solstice and mid-winter was a time of celebration for the Romans, as the beginning of the new sun. The festival Saturnalia, in honour of the god Saturn, god of agriculture, was derived from farming rituals on the winter solstice and was a popular holiday in the ancient Roman calendar, later developing into a week-long celebration.

Melanie added: “Midwinter was a celebratory time for all Romans, who took a holiday from work and school to feast and socialise, share gifts and make predictions based on the year ahead.

The Argus: Fishbourne Palace and Gardens hosts plenty of re-enactments Fishbourne Palace and Gardens hosts plenty of re-enactments

“Wax candles were a popular gift during Saturnalia, to signify the return of light at the end of the solstice, and Romans would greet each other at night by saying ‘vives annos’, which means ‘live for years’.

“They also decorated their homes with wreaths and greenery, so there are many familiar traditions which we now recognise as Christmas ones.”

Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens is among the sites owned and cared for by Sussex Past, the trading name of the Sussex Archaeological Society.

The ghost hunt at Fishbourne Roman Palace will take place from 7.30pm until 9pm and will be livestreamed from the Dark Encounters Facebook page.

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