Beneath a generic stretch of motorway is perhaps one of the last places you might expect to discover a treasure trove of valuable Roman artifacts, however that is exactly what road workers uncovered during excavation works as part of a £380 million upgrade to the A1.
A staggering 177,000 artifacts from an ancient Roman settlement have now been discovered by archaeologists dating back as far as 60 AD. These findings are to provide new insight into life in Britain when the Romans occupied the area. A rare Roman brooch and a decorative miniature sword were among the things discovered, as well as the remnants of the town close to Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire which could potentially be the first Roman settlement in the region.
Experts previously thought that the Romans first came to York a decade after than the settlement is thought to have been built. The archaeological project was led by Dr. Steve Sherlock who said, “We are effectively re-writing the history books, because we didn’t know it was there or that there was anything so early. Conventional wisdom tells us that in AD71 the Romans came over the Humber and settled in places like York and near Boroughbridge – but this site is even earlier.”
There were traces of timber buildings, vessels, beads and even remnants of crops as quite spectacular also discovered. Dr. Sherlock also said, “We didn’t just find one building, but a sequence of buildings going back hundreds of years that nobody knew existed. We can understand the impact of the site because of the amount of time it was occupied – over 300 years.”
More than 60 archaeologists have been working on the remains of an old Roman route known as the Great North Road, which is located next to the contemporary A1. Dr. Sherlock explained that, “Although they expected to find Roman deposits the ‘quality, quantity and extent went beyond expectations.”
There were more findings made at Catterick, North Yorks which was occupied by the Romans back in 80 AD. . The excavation of a previously unknown third century cemetery in Baineese, south of Catterickhome, has also provided a wealth of knowledge to archaeologists and historians. Now the bones can be analyzed in order to determine their age, sex and cause of death.