Sunday, September 09, 2012

Roman road found beneath the Stockwell Arms

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed a Roman road beneath a former Colchester pub.

A dig at the site of the Stockwell Arms, in West Stockwell Street, has revealed an unexpected glimpse into our history.

The discovery could mean historians have to revise their drawings of Colchester circa 40AD, after the road was found three metres away from where they thought it would be. The road would have run from north to south, through the ancient settlement of Camulodunum.

It was discovered by the Colchester Archaeological Trust ’s Adam Wightman as he excavated the ground behind the Grade II-listed building ahead of its refurbishment and relaunch as a restaurant and real ale house, called the Stockwell.

Mr Wightman said: “We knew the road would be here, but it has a slightly different alignment than expected.

“The original drawings would have been made after certain discoveries. There could be a number of reasons they were slightly out.

“Now they will have to be altered. The wall is definitely Roman and probably from the later period, but we can’t be more specific.”

The dig has also turned up pottery, plates and a pin believed to be from a piece of Roman jewellery. The artefacts will be placed inside the building when it opens in October.

Philip Crummy, archaeological trust director, said: “It sounds geeky and doesn’t look much, but this is a fundamental piece of archaeology.

“We can trace these roads back to the walls, where there could have been a gate to the town.” Owner Robert Morgan is spending £1million to bring the historic pub back to life. Work started in 2010.

He wants to preserve as much of the historical elements in the building as he can. The archaeological dig is taking place while work continues on an extension at the back of the pub. Mr Morgan said: “It is exciting they have been able to find it.”

He wants to mount a crusade knight’s helmet at the door and have a replica set of chainmail armour for children to try on inside.

Via Roman road found beneath the Stockwell Arms (From Gazette)