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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Maryport dig boss dismisses Roman harbour reports

An archaeologist has dismissed as nonsense reports suggesting that a Roman harbour has been found in Maryport.

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ARTEFACTS: John Zant, site director at the Roman dig in Maryport

The Oxford Archaeology North excavation, commissioned by Hadrian’s Wall Trust and funded by philanthropist Christian Levett, is conducting an archaeological dig at Camp Farm.

John Zant, site director, said that many interesting finds had been made, but a Roman harbour was not one of them.

He said: “The idea that we have found a harbour is complete nonsense. It’s the least likely place to find a harbour.

“Certainly there was a Roman harbour in Maryport, but it has never been found. That has been a theory kicking about for the last 15 years.

“We are digging alongside a road that could have possibly led to a harbour.”

Artefacts found this year include fragments of tableware imported from Gaul and the Rhineland, storage vessels, fragments of fine glass vessels and several items of jewellery, including a jet finger-ring and part of a decorated glass bangle.

The remains of a stone building have been removed, revealing earlier Roman remains beneath.

One pit has yielded a Samian ware cup in a style that had fallen out of fashion by the early years of the second century AD.

The find, with a late first century Samian vessel recovered last year, could mean that the settlement was occupied before the reign of the emperor Hadrian and suggests that there was an earlier Roman fort at Maryport.

The dig is due to end today and the last guided tours of the excavation site, starting from the Senhouse Roman Museum, will be at 2pm and 3.30pm.

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