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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Maryport’s status in Roman Empire keeps on increasing

Maryport is emerging as an important part of the Roman Empire long before Hadrian's Wall was built, the latest archaeological dig at Camp Farm is indicating.

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UP-RATED: Nigel Mills, of Hadrian’s Wall Trust, left, and Jeremy Bradley, of Oxford Archaeology North, at the excavations at the Senhouse Roman Museum

The Oxford Archaeology North excavation, commissioned by Hadrian’s Wall Trust and funded by philanthropist Christian Levett, has revealed more finds from all over the Roman Empire.

Heritage consultant Nigel Mills, a former trust director, said: “The quantity and origin of the finds show that Maryport was an important trade and supply centre even before work started on Hadrian’s Wall.”

Artefacts found this year include fragments of tableware imported from Gaul and the Rhineland, storage vessels that once contained Spanish olive oil and Gallic wines, 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.

The stone structure replaced an earlier long, narrow building made entirely from timber.

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 that was recovered last year, could mean that the settlement was occupied before the reign of the emperor Hadrian (AD 117-38) and again suggests that there was an earlier Roman fort at Maryport.

Rachel Newman, of the Senhouse Roman Museum Trust, thanked volunteers on the dig which ends next week.

Weekday tours of the excavation site, starting from the Senhouse Roman Museum at 2pm and 3.30pm, will finish next Friday.

There will be an open day on Monday with tours from the museum at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm.

A free lecture on the dig by John Zant, site director, will be held at the museum on Wednesday at 7.30pm.

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