The Scarborough News

Roman dig Hopes of more finds

More Roman ruins could be unearthed at a building site in Eastfield as new digs prepare to get underway north of the currently excavated site.

- By George Buksmann @g_buks

In April, archaeolog­ists discovered significan­t Roman remains that have been hailed as a world-first, never having been seen before.

“We’re excavating until mid-July on this phase. There are four more phases of archaeolog­ical work to take place, including to the north of where the site is now,” said Paula Ware, Managing Director at MAP Archaeolog­y. “We would anticipate that we are going to find, maybe not the level of buildings we’ve got, but definitely more indicators of what the function of that site was during the Roman period.”

MAP Archaeolog­y is the consultanc­y brought in by developer Keep mo at Homes to conduct archaeolog­ical digs at the site in Eastfield.

The discovery of significan­t Roman ruins on the Yorkshire Coast has both excited and puzzled experts alike, in an area of Britain where the history of the Romans is not well known.

Archaeolog­ists are reluctant to describe the site as a villa as the true purpose of the buildings currently remains unknown, but that it is unique and “really special”.

“We really don’t know what it is at this stage, we don’t have that evidence of whether it’s a villa or a sanctuary – that’s a work in progress but as we keep excavating we hope to find that informatio­n,” Ms Ware said.

Earlier phases of the discovered buildings date as far back as the 2nd Century AD, with archaeolog­ists looking at the possibilit­y that it had an Iron Age foundation and was adapted with the placement of Roman buildings on top.

Ms Ware said the buildings were of a sophistica­ted style and a high-status site.

“Our informatio­n about Romans in this part of Yorkshire is quite limited and we always knew about the rural element of it, but nothing of this scale.

“We never anticipate­d this at all. So it’s really changing the significan­ce of Scarboroug­h in terms of the Roman period.”

This Roman discovery is significan­t due to the unusual nature of a circular room and entrance with three square rooms adjacent, which experts have not seen before.

“It’s increasing our understand­ing of Roman Britain, it really is significan­t,” said Ms Ware.

Describing the moment she received a phone call that revealed the discovery of the Roman ruins, Ms Ware said: “Unbelievab­le, great excitement, I got in my car and went straight to the site to have a look, everything else was pushed aside!

“This is up there near the top, it really is quite thrilling!

“Because we’ve worked on the site for so many years; I think I first started on the site in 2009 with the trial trenching with quite a few of my colleagues who we still all work together, so for us, it’s just incredible.

“It’s even better than our wildest dreams.”

A limited number of artefacts have been discovered at the site in Eastfield, including personal adornments and ceramics. A few broaches have been found, along with shards of Roman pottery. Some amphora has been discovered, a type of container with a pointed bottom, used for the transporta­tion of wine and olive oil. “We have not found the huge amounts that we would normally see on a site,” said Ms Ware. “So that’s another intriguing element – was it cleared out in the fourth century, a stamping out of that site and removal of the material goods?”

The main core of the buildings will be preserved in situ, which is regarded as best practice by archaeolog­ists. It refers to the conservati­on of an archaeolog­ical asset in its original location, meaning it will be reburied.

Ms Ware said with this site being an unexpected find and of national importance, it was especially important to protect it in this way as the stonework would soon disintegra­te as the weather conditions are not ideal.



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 ??  ?? Photos show work at the site, with trainee field archaeolog­ist Corey Greening, above left,
Photos show work at the site, with trainee field archaeolog­ist Corey Greening, above left,
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 ??  ?? and field archaeolog­ist Martyn King, above right.
and field archaeolog­ist Martyn King, above right.
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