Lancaster’s Roman archaeological dig hailed a success

Lancaster’s big archaeological dig could be on the cards again next year after major Roman buildings were found.

By Gemma Sherlock
Thursday, 24th September 2015, 4:08 pm
Lancaster's big Roman dig. Lancaster and District Hertiage Group.
Lancaster's big Roman dig. Lancaster and District Hertiage Group.

The first ever dig at Quay Meadow has been hailed a roaring success after a Roman road and two Roman buildings were unearthed.

The group behind the six-day dig, Lancaster District Heritage Group, have been blown away by the finds across the three trenches.

In trench one a double skinned wall of considerable size with post holes has been found.

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A Roman soldier in action at Lancaster's big Roman dig.

In trench two a building with two internal walls and another set of post holes.

The final trench has unearthed a section of cambered road.

The trainee archaeologists have been blown away by the discoveries which confirm the site is of Roman origin.

Dig Venture, which offers archaeological services and advice to community groups, has been training the group during the project.

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

Since the excavation started on Thursday, September 17, the site has welcomed hundreds of visitors including many primary schools across the district.

Coun Darren Clifford, the city council’s Cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, is hopeful the dig will continue again next year.

Coun Clifford said: “I hope it comes back next year, the group have done such a wonderful job. They have managed to unearth this in just six days, imagine what they could uncover in six weeks next year.”

The team believe the discoveries act as further evidence the site belonged to a Roman port, indicating the River Lune took a different path to the current one.

Jason Wood, consultant archaeologist for the project said: “These features might relate to earlier river frontage activities predating the Quay.

“What is surprising is how close to the surface it is and how close to the present river it is.”

Funding for the dig has been provided by the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

Given the success of the project, Andrew Reilly, chair of Lancaster District Heritage Group, is confident another may occur if the team gain further funding.

Andrew said: “With this being a success hopefully it will put us in a better position to apply for more funding.

“There is nothing stopping us coming back in a year now we have identified where things are. The support has been amazing, we have learnt so much.”

The team had help from former Time Team member Raksha Dave, from Dig Ventures, who is also keen to get back to the site.

Raksha said: “The experience has been mind blowing, completely amazing. They are an amazing team, I would love to come back and work for them again.

“We have had so many visitors. In my trench one we have found a massive building we don’t know what it is or what it was used for because we have just been excavating a really small area.

“Hopefully next year we can get more answers.”

Now the dig has finished the archaeology will be covered with a membrane prior to backfilling the trenches.

The membrane not only protects the archaeology but makes it easier for future generations of archaeologists to see what has gone before.

All the findings will be examined and a report published soon.

Coun Janice Hanson, the city council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It was great to see so many people coming into Lancaster to join in the dig and the Lancaster and District Heritage Group should be commended for all the hard work they have put into the project.”

Andrew said: “We would like to thank all the people who have played a part in the project. This is not the end of the story, just the first chapter. We’ll be back, watch out for Quay Meadow 2016 The Return.”

Lancaster area’s Roman heritage - more here: