Monday, July 04, 2011

Important Roman altar stone unearthed at Cumbrian dig

The excavation at Camp Farm is being led by Professor Ian Haynes, of Newcastle University with leading field archaeologist Tony Wilmott.

The site is internationally famous as the place where 17 altar stones found in 1870 - they are now on display in the museum at the town’s Senhouse Roman Museum.

Many stones would have made up the altar which was used in worship and Professor Haynes believes that the Maryport ditch could have been dug to enclose a sacred space, but he said further evidence is needed.

Fragments of Roman pottery found in the ditch are all Antonine or later, suggesting the ditch was filled up in the late second or early third centuries AD.

This newest stone is 22 cm high and 12cm wide and was found 75cm below the ground surface in a Roman ditch. Jane Laskey, curator of the Senhouse Roman Museum said she was excavating the ditch with a student from Newcastle University when they made the discovery.

She said: “This is a very exciting find for me because of my close connection with the collection, but it is an achievement for the whole team.

More at Newsandstar

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