Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Plans to revisit the site of 17 buried Roman altars along Hadrian's Wall

Archaeologists from the University of Newcastle are planning an archaeology excavation at an internationally important Roman site in Maryport, Cumbria. Subject to Scheduled Monument Consent from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, they will begin work on 31 May 2011.

The archaeology excavations team will be led by Professor Ian Haynes. Attention will focus on the area in which 17 Roman altars were found by Humphrey Senhouse in 1870. This now forms part of the Roman Maryport site at Camp Farm owned by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage. Senhouse Museum Trust, which is working in partnership with Hadrian’s Wall Heritage for the development of the whole Roman Maryport site, is commissioning and funding the archaeology excavation.

Peter Greggains, chairman of the Trust said: “The altars found by Humphrey Senhouse in 1870 are an important part of the collection of Roman sculpture and inscriptions from the Maryport site which is now displayed in our museum. “It is very exciting that we can now revisit the site where the altars were found and, with modern methods, learn more about their burial and other activity in this area more than 1800 years ago.”

Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, which is responsible for the development of Hadrian’s Wall Country said: “This work will be an important step towards the establishment of a long-term programme of archaeological research, a key element in the development of Roman Maryport.”
The £10 million heritage development is expected to attract 50,000 visitors a year spending £3-4 million and create 76 jobs. It is part of the development of the whole of Hadrian’s Wall Country over the coming years, designed to draw many more visitors to the north of England.
Professor Ian Haynes, Newcastle University said: “The Maryport altars have been at the centre of international debate about the nature of religion in the Roman army for decades now. We still know very little about the context in which they were originally deposited. A geophysical survey conducted in 2010 by Alan Biggins from TimeScape Surveys and Newcastle University, in partnership with Southampton University, has given us a better understanding of the site but excavation is the only way to advance the debate. This project represents a marvellous opportunity.”

Source from : http://www.pasthorizons.com

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