BREATHTAKING fire sculptures, a torchlight procession and a mysterious shoe collector brought an ancient archaeological site to life last night (Friday, June 21).

Feet on Fire on Dere Street, at Binchester Roman Fort, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, saw the popular heritage attraction handed over to revellers for a night of culture and celebration.

The free event, which continues today, began at 6pm when actors and musicians performed a Midsummer ritual to celebrate archaeologists handing over the first century ruins to the people.

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This was followed at 9pm with a torchlight parade from Bishop Auckland Market Place to the fort, featuring jugglers and other talented street artists.

Visitors were encouraged to bring an old shoe, which they donated to Calceamentis, a mysterious shoe collector, who greeted them on arrival.

The shoes were placed on Dere Street, an ancient road that passes through the centre of the site.

Event organiser Richard Bliss, of Projects Galore, which is staging the event alongside Durham County Council, the November Club and Culture Creatives, explained: “Over the years millions of people have walked along Dere Street and the shoes represent all of those journeys.

“We will then use the shoes to create a sculpture that will be unveiled next during next summer’s celebrations.”

Mr Bliss said the idea had been to create a new summer festival that combines Christian and pre-Christian fire celebrations.

The fun continues from 11am today, with the further performances and fire sculptures.

The first 100 people to arrive with an old shoe will also receive free entry and a specially designed Binchester cake.