Roman Day at Frilford archaeological site

From the Oxford Mail

History-lovers mingled with Roman soldiers when they took a step
back in time to view unearthed treasures in an Oxfordshire field.

Hundreds of people flocked to excavations near Frilford for a glimpse of Roman Britain at the site open day on Sunday.

The event was part of National Archaeology Day, organised by the
National Trust and English Heritage, in collaboration with the
archaeologists, to show the public what had been discovered.

The site, behind the former Noah’s Ark pub on the A338 Oxford to
Wantage road, is used as a training ground for archaeology students at
Oxford University, who dig at the site each summer.

Excavations since the 1930s have revealed a large Roman temple
complex, amphitheatre and other public buildings, dating back to
between the early second century and late fourth century.

Underneath the Roman buildings, archaeologists have also discovered an Iron Age settlement.

Gary Lock, Professor of Archaeology at Oxford University, said: “It was a great day.

“We had Roman soldiers marching around, kids digging up Roman
pottery, an archery demonstration and a display of Roman artefacts.

“Children liked digging things up and seeing the Roman soldiers,
while the adults enjoyed seeing the site and having someone explain the
archaeology to them.

“There were lots of questions and people were really interested.

“It was very satisfying for us.

“Archaeology is very popular at the moment because there is so much
of it on the television. People are very interested in their past –
they want to know where they’ve come from.

“This site is pretty much the only one of its type in Britain.

“We have got a temple and an amphitheatre together. Most other
amphitheatres are found in towns or on the site of Roman forts. But
this one is with a temple which means it was used for religious
services and plays.”

He added: “We are interested in the way the Roman settlement links
back to the Iron Age settlement – and the way the Romans were inspired
by the past.

“You can get a real insight into religious practices and beliefs.”

Donations went towards funding the dig.

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