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Roman remains discovered during Cumbria roadworks

roman roadworks

Remains of a Roman settlement have been uncovered during roadworks on the A66 at Kirkby Thore in Cumbria.

The discoveries were made during work on a £5M Highways England’s road improvement project.

A Roman grave, foundations of the original Roman road, post-holes for timber housing and pottery have all been found in the past few weeks, according to the government-owned company.

Among the discoveries has been Samian pottery from Roman Gaul which was once used as tableware for rich and well-connected soldiers and citizens.

Other discoveries include amphorae which may have once held wine or olive oil from the Mediterranean as well as more common greyware and coarse ware made in Roman Britain itself.

The route of the modern A66 roughly follows a Roman road which connected the Roman forts and settlements of Cumbria with the Roman forts and settlements of North Yorkshire.

During the A66 roadworks Highways England has been working closely with Guard Archaeology, a company which specialises in the management of archaeology and heritage projects.

Highways England project manager Steve Mason said: “As we are essentially replacing the ancient foundations of the A66 between Low Moor and Kirkby Thore we realised before starting the work that we might come across Roman remains.

“We have worked very closely with archaeologists for several months and it has been very interesting to see what kind of things are turning up.

“It has added a bit more complexity to planning and delivering the improvements, but we have been determined from the outset to ensure that what we find on site is treated seriously and sensitively.”

Guard excavation director John-James Atkinson added: “Not only have we revealed the foundations of the Roman road, but we have revealed traces of timber buildings that lay adjacent to the Roman road to the south-west of the fort.

“While the timber has long since rotted away, the construction of these buildings has left post-holes and pits from which we have recovered a variety of Roman pottery sherds.” 

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