Slack Roman fort excavation

From the Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Aug 23 2008 by Joanne Douglas, Huddersfield Daily Examiner

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are hoping to uncover more evidence of Roman civilisation near Outlane.

They will be digging at the Slack Roman fort all weekend and hope to find buildings used by soldiers and travellers.

Members of the Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society have already found evidence of a Roman travellers’ station.

They have also uncovered evidence of pottery and cooking vessels.

But now they hope to find buildings where soldiers and local people may have lived.

Field work coordinator Granville Clay said: “We excavated here a year ago and found the water supply to the Roman fort, which nobody knew anything about.

“We discovered evidence that this Roman fort continued to operate for something like 200 years later than anybody suspected before.

“We’ve come back to try to find buildings because we think that while it may not have continued as a military fort it was still a place for civilians, maybe the equivalent of a motorway service station.

“The road over the Pennines needed services for the travellers; somewhere for them to stop, stables for their horses to feed and be watered,’’ said Mr Clay.

“So far this year it looks as though we might have found evidence of a bread oven, a large amount of pottery such as vessels for cooking and eating.

“It seems to have been a real centre of activity.”

During last year’s dig archaeologists found remains of an aqueduct which brought fresh water into the fort.

Investigations since then have revealed that the fresh water supply came from Springhead Farm off New Hey Road.

Experts can date the Roman fort to as late as AD 140, when the troops were moved to Hadrian’s Wall.

But evidence exists which proves there was life on the settlement as late as AD 320.

Members are going to be digging all weekend.

Mr Clay added: “Hopefully this weekend we will be successful in unearthing more evidence of Roman civilisation here.”

The site is open to the public to go along and look at the archaeological dig and find out more.

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