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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Papcastle dig uncovers more Roman remains

A Roman bath and building has been found following an excavation at Papcastle, near Cockermouth.

papdig 0709
DIGGERS: The Grampus Heritage team which has carried out the excavation of a Roman settlement at Papcastle, uncovering a Roman bath house

The settlement, known to the Romans as Derventio, is one of the largest Romano-British settlements ever found in northern England and was unearthed during the 2009 floods.

The excavation has revealed a Roman bath complete with furnace, flue, hot rooms and cold plunge pool as well as a nearby building, believed to have been owned by a high ranking Roman military official.

Grampus Heritage and Training Ltd, which is carrying out the five-week excavation, last year found pottery, metalwork, coins and glass and the most complete Roman water mill recorded in Britain.

They knew there were remains of a Roman building but did not know what it was.

It is believed the bath house dates from the late first century, although more will be known as the excavation nears its end.

Mark Graham, project manager, said: “This is of international significance. This is the discovery of the volunteers who helped us to do the surveys and the original excavation.

“We are hoping to understand the working of the bath house and what the function of the other building was.”

The bath house excavation will continue and will be followed by the building, which is believed to contain patterned mosaics on its floors.

Fifteen volunteers are working on site but Mr Graham said anybody interested in local history or wanting to be part of the excavation would be welcome to help out with full training provided.

He added: “This is genuinely a once in a lifetime opportunity because I don’t believe you will see something like this again in my lifetime.”

Mr Graham hopes the dig will reveal more about the relationship of the settlement and the River Derwent, and whether the Romans used it for transport.

The project was recently given £367,700 by the Heritage Lottery Fund for two further major excavations and more geophysical surveys over the next five years to determine the extent of the settlement.

It is hoped that previously discovered artefacts will be preserved and put on display in Cockermouth Town Hall within the next month.

A talk about what has been found and what will happen over the coming weeks will be given by Mr Graham today at 10am at the Kirkgate Centre, Cockermouth, and an open day will be held at the site tomorrow from 10am to 4pm to see excavation work in progress.

Have your say

I think it is an amazing discovery in the world of archaeology. It would be very rewarding being one of the people who helped uncover it, because of the significance of the date at which it was built and the people who built it.
Thank you for listening. Mackenzie McCoy, P.S. I am only 14 years old.

Posted by Mackenzie McCoy on 7 September 2012 at 15:29

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