The attendees of Appleby Archaeology Group's latest meeting were treated to a deep dive into the Roman past of Carlisle.

The group heard about the Roman excavations at Carlisle Cricket Club.

The key speakers for the meeting, held on March 14, were Frank Giecco of Wardell Armstrong, who managed the archaeological excavation, and his daughter, Anna Giecco.

The focal point of the conversation was about an archaeological discovery believed to be linked to Roman Emperor Severus.

The Historia Augusta is a Roman document that recorded that Severus, who reigned from 193AD to 211AD, and his wife Julia Domna, visited Carlisle.

Scepticism loomed around the authenticity of this claim until recent archaeological finds at Carlisle Cricket Club not only suggested its validity, but that a large villa was built in Carlisle, probably to house the imperial party.

Archaeologists led by Wardell Armstrong unearthed the remains of a monumental Severan building.

Built on three terraces, the structure measured more than 50m by 45m, making it the largest find of its kind on the Northern Frontier.

The structure exhibited characteristics such as white mortar flooring and thick walls with foundations up to two metres deep.

It contained a large room, believed to have been a shrine, constructed with vaulting tubes - a building technique of late Roman period that originated in Libya, the country where Severus was from.

It has produced forty hypocaust tiles stamped 'IMP', a mark indicating imperial usage.

An engraved stone fragment dedicated to Julia Domna was discovered, suggesting that she may have once lived in the building.

The opulent nature of the building was underpinned by its heating systems, painted wall plaster, and assembly of finds, including the two large carved heads that have made the excavation famous.

This was not a military building, as evidenced by the numerous pieces of jewellery and other high status personal effects discovered, used by women.

Among these finds was a collection of intricately carved gemstones sieved from subterranean drains.

Large quantities of Severan hairpins – used by high-status women for hair ornaments – were also found.

Pottery, bone, and metallic objects were also uncovered during the excavation.

Personal effects were recovered, such as a small copper etched pendant, a bone pin for a woman, and multiple small carvings and engravings known as intaglios.

Frank Giecco, with more than twenty-five years of experience in managing field archaeology projects in Britain and overseas, is the technical director of the archaeology team at Wardell Armstrong, based in Carlisle.

At the meeting, his daughter, Anna, gave an insightful presentation on intaglios .