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Archaeologists make new discoveries at site of University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus

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Archaeologists from Cotswold archaeology have uncovered a section of an 18th century church’s external wall and porch during excavations at the University of Gloucestershire’s new City Campus in Gloucester, England.

The team have been excavating at the former location of a Debeham’s department store between Eastgate Street and Northgate Street, which during the Roman period was the north-eastern quadrant of Roman Colonia Glevum.

Colonia Glevum was an early fort established around AD 48 at an important crossing of the River Severn, and near to the Fosse Way, the early front line after the Roman invasion of Britain. The fort grew to become a “colonia” of retired legionaries and housed an administrative basilica, a forum market-place, and high status dwellings with mosaic floors.

Excavations have revealed an eight-metre-long footing of the Western elevation and porch of the post-medieval St Aldate’s Church, built around 1750. Thought to be named after a bishop of Gloucester who died in battle in 577, the post-medieval church replaced a medieval church of the same name that may have pre-dated the Norman Conquest.

Historians believe the medieval St Aldate’s Church was demolished in the mid-17th century after it sustained damage during the English Civil War (1642-1652).

Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

Cliff Bateman, Senior Project Officer at the City Campus site, said: “The footing we have discovered is only 20cm to 30cm below the current ground surface and it has survived very well. It’s an interesting discovery in that, although the post-medieval St Aldate’s Church was built in the mid-18th century, photographs taken in later years very clearly show that it was a brick church, almost neoclassical in its design.”

“The footing is made up entirely of very well-dressed limestone blocks, some of which I presume may have come from the earlier medieval church and possibly from the nearby Roman and medieval defensive town wall that was razed after the Civil War,” added Bateman.

Although the location of the medieval church is uncertain, the researchers believe that the 18th century church used the footprint of its predecessor which will enable archaeologists to determine the location of the church burial ground.

Within the same location, the team have discovered 12 burials, the vast majority of which are associated with the medieval St Aldate’s Church. All the remains are being sensitively and respectfully transferred for assessment and analysis, before being reinterred.

Cotswold Archaeology

Header Image Credit : Cotswold Archaeology

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Archaeology

Excavation of medieval shipbuilders reveals a Roman head of Mercury

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Excavations of a medieval shipbuilders has led to the discovery of a Roman settlement and a Roman head of Mercury.

The discovery was made at Smallhythe Place, a late 15th or early 16th century property managed by the National Trust near Tenterden in Kent, England.

Prior to the decline of the port and shipyard at Smallhythe during the 16th century, the local community played a crucial role in the shipbuilding industry, crafting vessels for notable figures, including members of royalty.

As part of a project funded by several UK institutions, over 60 volunteers from the National Trust participated in the excavation, along with professional archaeologists, students, and members of the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group.

The excavation has revealed traces of a Roman settlement that was occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries, including an incredibly rare figurine made of pipeclay that depicts the god, Mercury.

Mercury was a major god in the Roman pantheon and was associated with financial gain, commerce, eloquence, messages, communication (including divination), travellers, boundaries, luck, trickery, and thieves. He also served as the guide of souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods.

According to a press announcement by the National Trust: “This complete figurine probably would have depicted Mercury standing, either draped with a chlamys (a short cloak), or naked, holding a caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).”

The team also unearthed thousands of artefacts, providing evidence of the evolution of Smallhythe Place from a Georgian farm to a midden dump, a shipbuilding site, and a brickworks.

The National Trust said: “To support our investigations, we received grants from the National Trust’s Inclusive Archaeology, Robert Kiln and the Roman Research Funds and from the Royal Archaeological Institute. During 2023, our project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries and the William and Edith Oldham Charitable Trust.”

Header Image Credit : James Dobson

Sources : National Trust – Exploring Smallhythe Place: Archaeological Investigations by the River Rother

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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