Archaeologists await surprises as third dig begins at "fantastic" Roman Maryport

By Culture24 Reporter | 20 June 2013

Archaeologists are expecting to make some surprising discoveries as the third year of digging at Maryport – a stretch of the Roman frontier in Cumbria – begins.

A photo of archaeologists digging
The Senhouse Museum Trust, the Hadrian’s Wall Trust and Newcastle University are investigating the site as part of a five-year programme which aims to discover more about the famous altars at the heart of the museum’s displays.

“The last two years' excavations focused on the area in which the altars were discovered in 1870,” explained Professor Ian Haynes, of the university.

"Photographs and other documents from the 1880s indicate that the antiquarian investigation only unearthed part of the site, and it is clear that much remains to be discovered.

"The excavations have yielded some remarkable and surprising results over the last two years, and it's exciting to be back this season."

This year’s effort marks the start of a three-year project focused on the grounds where Joseph Robinson, a local bank manager and amateur archaeologist, found two potential temples in 1880.

“This is a fantastic site, yielding very interesting information indeed,” said Nigel Mills, the Director of World Heritage for the Hadrian’s Wall Trust.

"The excavations are an important step towards the establishment of a long-term programme of archaeological research at Maryport, which is a key element in the development of the proposed Roman Maryport heritage and visitor attraction.

"There is a lot more to be discovered about life on the Roman frontier and Maryport will be a major part of that."

Any finds will be included in the museum collections, with 28 local volunteers helping the team of experts and students.

Lectures will take place on June 25 and July 22, with an open day planned for July 20. Guided walks will allow the public to watch the excavations until it finishes on July 22, and the museum will be open daily.

  • Tours take place on weekdays at 2pm and 3.30pm.
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