Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Archaeologists discover unique 'wing' shaped building

(PhysOrg.com) — A unique 'wing' shaped building discovered close to the ancient capital of the Iceni in Norfolk is mystifying archaeologists.

A building without obvious parallel in Roman Britain or the rest of the Roman Empire — that is how archaeologists at The University of Nottingham have described the discovery south of the Roman site of Venta Icenorum, which is known today as Caistor St. Edmund, in Norfolk.

Trial excavations suggest the building dates to around the third century AD. The preliminary findings have been published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology.

Dr. Will Bowden, from the Department of Archaeology, said: "This building is a mystery to us. We don't know what function it would have had although a temple seems the most likely explanation. It is of a design that is very unusual for Britain and indeed the rest of the Roman Empire. It is particularly intriguing to find such a structure in the former territory of the Iceni (the tribe of Boudica) as villas and other monumental structures are relatively rare in this area."

The structure, built 1800 years ago, was discovered in 2007 during a particularly unusual spell of very wet then very dry weather. This resulted in a series of crop marks appearing at the highest part of the site. These crop marks indicated the presence of a 'winged' building that had never been seen by before.

It was first identified through aerial photographs taken by Mike Page who regularly records archaeological sites in Norfolk.

The mystery building is of a particularly unusual design with two angled wings converging on a central structure.

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