Time Team digs up Ro­man past at vil­lage

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ADAM UREN

A GLIMPSE of life un­der the Ro­mans has been un­earthed by TV star Tony Robin­son and his Time Team ar­chae­ol­o­gists in the vil­lage of Cas­tor.

Film­ing in the his­toric grounds of St Kyneb­urgha Church for the BBC show, to be broad­cast next spring, the team made great strides in un­cov­er­ing the mys­te­ri­ous past of the site.

Guided by pre­vi­ous ex­ca­va­tions car­ried out by 19th cen­tury ar­chae­ol­o­gist Ed­mund Ar­tis, who is buried at the church, Mr Robin­son and his team were de­lighted to dis­cover the re­mains of what could be a plush Ro­man villa dat­ing back to the sec­ond or third cen­tury.

The team has been dig­ging since Tues­day but the biggest dis­cov­ery hap­pened yes­ter­day lunchtime, when a mo­saic floor was dis­cov­ered be­neath some 17th cen­tury graves.

The find­ing cer­tainly pleased Mr Robin­son, who said: “I was ini­tially sur­prised at how lit­tle we were find­ing, given the his­tory of the site, but it was just a case of dig­ging a lit­tle deeper.

“The mo­saic does seem to back up pre­vi­ous sug­ges­tions that there was a grand Ro­man build­ing or set of build­ings.

“The prob­lem with Cas­tor is that a lot of its his­tory is a bit foggy and no­body knows the com­plete pic­ture, but we’re hop­ing we will be able to con­trib­ute to a greater un­der­stand­ing about its past.”

Among the dis­cov­er­ies made were sev­eral walls which sug­gest that the area was used as a pri­vate com­plex by a wealthy Ro­man cit­i­zen, com­plete with Ro­man baths near Peter­bor­ough Road.

Time Team ar­chae­ol­o­gist Phil Hard­ing was work­ing on un­earthing the mo­saic floor­ing in the grave­yard and said there was ev­i­dence pre­vi­ous gravedig­gers could not find their way through.

He said: “We’ve been find­ing a lot of bones in the trench and it seems like gravedig­gers were find­ing it im­pos­si­ble to dig past the mo­saic and so were just bury­ing peo­ple three feet deep.”

Cur­rent church gravedig­ger David Reed said he was pleased that the dig had been suc­cess­ful. He said: “It’s nice to see so much his­tory in this area be­ing brought out into the open.”

Dis­cov­ery:

Time Team pre­sen­ter Phil Hard­ing (above) un­earths the mo­saic floor at the church in Cas­tor. Tv FAce: Fel­low pre­sen­ter Tony Robin­son out­side St Kyneb­urgha’s. Pic­tures: PAUL FRANKS

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