Looe Island, Cornwall: Time Team finds the Romans

Yet again, thanks to Explorator.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS from Channel 4’s Time Team uncovered evidence of Roman activity during excavations on Looe Island, just off the Cornish coast.

The island – famous as the home of sisters Rosalyn “Babs” Atkins and her sister Evelyn, who bequeathed their home to Cornwall Wildlife Trust – is to feature heavily in the forthcoming programme Hermit Harbour.

Island warden Jon Ross said: “This was such a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the history of the island and watching the experts go about their business was hugely enjoyable. It was a massive undertaking with over 50 crew and all their equipment being ferried on and off the island by local boatmen. I’m really looking forward to watching the programme.”

The focus of the dig was the St Michael’s chapel site at the highest point on the island, otherwise known as St George’s.

It is suggested the island was purchased by Glastonbury Abbey to capitalise on the pilgrim trade relating to the cult of St Michael.

The chapel was then transferred to the mainland in the 12th century as devoted pilgrims were drowning while trying to access the island on St Michael’s Day.

The chapel on the mainland, called Lammana, was also excavated as part of the programme, which will be screened on March 1 at 5.30pm.

“Back in May, Time Team descended on St George’s Island to try and unravel the history of the island,” one of the crew said.

“The archaeology didn’t disappoint – it was a challenging but incredibly rewarding three days.”

A dig planned in Gloucester to find last bit of Roman wall

Another one from Explorator, that my alert didn’t pick up. Thanks again.

A MISSING link in Gloucester’s Roman past could finally be unearthed this summer.

Archaeologists will dig Southgate Street and the Kimbrose Triangle ahead of construction of a link between the city centre and the docks, and they could find the last undocumented piece of Gloucester’s Roman wall.

The wall, or at least evidence of it, has been found in a ring around the city centre – except the stretch between the corner of Parliament Street and Southgate Street, and the corner of Commercial Road and Ladybellegate Street.

But when archaeologists start in the area in June, they hope to uncover that last piece.

“It will be exciting if anything is found there,” said Nigel Spry, of Gloucester Civic Trust and Gloucester and District Archaeology Research Group, who started excavating in the city in 1966.

“There was an excavation in the 1930s but they didn’t find the wall.”

The work is being done in June so work can start on the pedestrianisation works to Kimbrose Triangle and Southgate Street.

That will form a link between the city centre and the docks designer outlet centre.

This Sunday, six trees will be cut down, then later replaced by five semi-mature trees, to allow the dig, and the pedestrianisation work to take place.

The nearest remains of the wall are inside Gloucestershire Furniture Exhibition Centre on the corner of Southgate Street and Parliament Street, and Blackfriars.

Henry Hurst uncovered the wall at Bearland in 1969, and it runs under Berkeley Street, to the nearest corner of the cathedral, to St Aldate Street, through King’s Walk, Brunswick Road, and Parliament Street.

Gloucestershire County Council projects manager Nigel Edgeworth said: “The long-term plan is to feature a public art wall at the site.”

Colchester: Roman circus to be sold

This link is from Explorator – thanks to David Meadows.

Colchester: Roman circus to be sold alongside sergeant’s mess

7:00am Friday 20th February 2009

A prized historic site housing the starting gates of Colchester’s unique Roman circus is to be put up for sale.

Developer Taylor Wimpey wants to sell the Sergeants’ Mess and Army Education Centre at Le Cateau Road, Colchester.

And that would mean the gardens, which cover the remains of the chariot track’s eight starting gates, will also be sold.

Taylor Wimpey won permission convert the buildings into 11 townhouses and four flats last year.

As part of the planning agreement, the Sergeants’ Mess gardens stayed privately owned but with the public allowed access to them each day between 10am and 5pm.

Taylor Wimpey project manager Robert Taylor said the firm had now decided it was not financially viable to carry out the redevelopment of the two historic buildings.

However, he said the firm still intended to proceed with plans for a new housing development which was approved as part of the plans.

Mr Taylor added: “At the moment, the market is such that what we will get for the Sergeants’ Mess and the Education Building is not as fincially as good we we would like.

“Therefore, we will not be proceeding with it. The new build, we will do ourselves.”

Peter Herring, who is a volunteer with the Colchester Archaeological Trust, said the chance to buy the Sergeants’ Mess and its gardens and the Education Building was a golden opportunity too good to be missed.

And he urged the council to step forward to buy the buildings to save them and the gardens for prosterity.

An earlier bid to buy the buildings for about £800,000 failed – but Mr Herring said the price may now have dropped in the current economic climate.

He suggested the Sergeants’ Mess could be converted into a heritage centre for the Roman circus and a Victorian military museum.

And he said the Education Centre would be a perfect home for the Colchester Archaeological Trust which has been given notice to quit its base in Lexden Road.

Mr Herring said: “History is what defines a town. Without it, a town has no soul.

“Our Roman and Victorian heritage is there. I also believe there is a longer term heritage value by protecting the gardens and getting them into public ownership.

“I know times are difficult but if you have money there has never been a better time to buy.

“With interest rates as they are, the council is not earning much money on its cash deposits.

“It makes business sense to buy something at a low price which will benefit the whole town.

“It will also attract tourists to the area which will generate income.”

Mr Herring said it might also be an opportunity for a consortium made up of investers and interested groups to snap up a bargain.

Alistair Day, conservation and deisgn officer for the council, said the conditions which existed on the Sergeants’ Mess garden allowing public access would continue, regardless of who owned the site.

However, he added: “That does not mean there cannot be a fresh application for alterations.”

More about the ArLT Summer School

There are more details, with an application form, here.

ArLT Summer School – the first details

See the display ad here.

Grantham museum family day

Grantham Journal

Published Date: 20 February 2009
Find out how the Romans lived and fought in battle and meet an authentic Roman Centurion from Legio IX Hispana (the Ninth Legion Hispana) at Grantham Museum on Saturday, February 28.
Visitors will be able to see realistic weaponry and children will have the opportunity to dress up as a Roman as part of Digging the Romans family day.

Not only will you be able to meet a Roman Centurion, you can also create a Roman shield or excavate a mock Roman Villa. The family day will be split into two parts with the morning being dedicated to craft activities. Visitors will be able to drop-in for a wide range of creative activities such as making a Roman shield, sword, brooch and mosaic.

During the afternoon, take part in the Roman Dig especially for children – come and help the museum staff excavate their Roman villa and see what Roman objects you can find (bookings only for this activity).

The Digging the Romans Family Day starts at 10am, is a free event and all ages are welcome. Booking is required for the Roman Dig in the afternoon, the Roman Centurion will be around all day. Free refreshments are available throughout the day. To book a place call 01476 568783.

‘Portus Itius’ publication

A notice from B.B. – thanks.

Colleagues interested in Caesar and Britain might be interested in a publication only just come out:
‘Portus Itius’, Guy Licoppe, published Melissa, 15 euros (incl. p.&p.), see
with link: http://web.me.com/fundatiomelissa/Site/Novum_%21.html