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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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50 volunteers on Roman dig in Maryport

A team of more than 50 volunteers will be digging deep from today in a bid to find out more about Roman life in Maryport.

Maryport Roman dig photo
An earlier dig

The eight-week project involves the volunteers working alongside expert archeologists.

The Maryport civilian settlement is the largest currently known along the Hadrian’s Wall frontier. Geophysical surveys have revealed detailed information including lines of buildings which could have been houses and shops.

It has been funded by philanthropist Christian Levett and last year the excavation uncovered part of the Roman road in the settlement, as well as some of the buildings.

This year the team will be concentrating on one of the stone buildings excavated last year, examining it in more detail.

Nigel Mills, from the Hadrian’s Wall Trust, said: “The famous Roman altars from Maryport give us fascinating insights into the lives of the officers commanding the fort who came to this remote place from all over the Empire – Spain, Austria, North Africa.

“Excavations in the civilian settlement give us an opportunity to bring to life the ordinary people who provided services to the troops – shops selling food and souvenirs, workshops repairing armour and other equipment, inns and hostels, and houses of merchants and traders.”

As soon as the Roman Settlement Project team leaves the site, the Senhouse Museum Trust and Newcastle University Roman Temples Project dig will take place for six weeks during June and July at a different part of the site.

Guided tours of the excavation site will also be held. They take place from the Senhouse Roman Museum at 2pm and 3.30pm Monday to Friday until May 30.

There will also be open days on April 19, May 5 and May 24. Details at www.senhousemuseum.co.uk

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