Fingers crossed for second big dig in Lancaster

Lancaster's big Roman dig. Lancaster and District Hertiage Group.
Lancaster's big Roman dig. Lancaster and District Hertiage Group.

Roman remains could once again be unearthed as Lancaster prepares for another possible archaeological dig.

Following the success of last year’s big Roman dig in Quay Meadow, community groups are now hoping further excavations can be made around the site.

Last year two Roman buildings and part of a Roman road were discovered during Lancaster Castle’s first archaeological dig in 40 years.

The dig sparked major interest attracting schools across the district and professional archaeologists, including former TV Time Team member Raksha Dave, from Dig Ventures.

Beyond the Castle, a heritage lottery funded project is now hoping a dig can begin in May at the Vicarage Field West site in Lancaster.

The group, which works to improve urban green space around the castle, has received encouragement from Historic England for the dig near the old Roman Bath House.

They will apply for Scheduled Monument Consent, as the site is protected against ground disturbance, and are currently in the process of receiving permission from English Heritage and Lancaster City Council.

Andrew Davidson, principal inspector of ancient monuments for Historic England, said: “Lancaster’s Beyond the Castle project has been very useful both in enhancing knowledge of the Roman development of Lancaster, and in developing proposals for its better management and presentation. I would therefore have no problem in principle with the idea of the project investigating the survival of the late fort in Vicarage Field West.” Lucia Marquart, from Beyond the Castle, said: “We are still in the early stages and it is a delicate process.

“It is all moving forwards though and we are all excited.”

The Lancaster District Heritage Group who are working along side Beyond the Castle, hope another dig on Quay Meadow can also be arranged.

Member Andrew Reily said: “We are hoping to reopen the field in September if everything goes to plan.

“The dig last year exceeded expectations.

“When you have got professional archaeologists saying it is the most important find in 40 years it is not bad for a group that didn’t exist 18 months before.”

In total 1,500 finds were collected from the Quay Meadow dig which including parts of pottery and post-medieval items. The group hopes to display some finds at Lancaster Castle’s Easter event, to be announced soon.