Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Archaeologists Discover Roman Fort In Cornwall, England

Date:
February 11, 2008
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Archaeologists have discovered a Roman fort in South East Cornwall. Dating back to the first century AD, this is only the third Roman fort ever to have been found in the county. The team believes its location, close to a silver mine, may be significant in shedding light on the history of the Romans in Cornwall. Situated next to St Andrew's Church, Calstock, the site is on top of a hill in an area known to have been involved with silver mining in medieval times.

University of Exeter archaeologists have discovered a Roman fort in South East Cornwall, England.
Credit: Sarah Hoyle, courtesy University of Exeter.

University of Exeter archaeologists have discovered a Roman fort in South East Cornwall, England. Dating back to the first century AD, this is only the third Roman fort ever to have been found in the county. The team believes its location, close to a silver mine, may be significant in shedding light on the history of the Romans in Cornwall.

Situated next to St Andrew’s Church, Calstock, the site is on top of a hill in an area known to have been involved with silver mining in medieval times. University archaeologists became interested in the site when they found references in medieval documents to the smelting of silver ‘at the old castle’ and ‘next to the church’ in Calstock.

The team conducted a geophysical survey, which clearly showed the outline of a feature that is a very similar shape to another Roman fort recently found near Lostwithiel. They started digging and uncovered the unique and instantly-recognisable shape of a Roman military ditch, confirming their find as a Roman fort.

Dr Stephen Rippon of the University of Exeter’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Earth Resources, said: “When I first saw the results from the geophysical survey, suggesting the outline of a Roman fort, I could hardly believe my eyes. As an archaeologist it is so rare to find something so significant, which was previously entirely unknown. It’s a very exciting discovery.”

The team of excavators, led by University of Exeter research fellow Chris Smart, has also dug up pottery, believed to be from the first century AD. Perhaps the most intriguing finds, though, are the remains of furnaces, possibly related to silver working. The team will now use radiocarbon dating techniques to establish the age of these finds. If they are Roman, this will show for the first time the Romans’ interest in exploiting Cornish minerals.

Very little is known about the Roman occupation in Cornwall, so this discovery could mark an important step in piecing together this period of history. Dr Rippon continued: “The Roman army only stayed in the South West for a few decades after the Conquest, before moving on to Wales. This find could help us to understand whether they were merely keeping watch over the locals, or were actually interested in exploiting commercial opportunities in the region. The discovery could therefore further our understanding of the rich history of mining in the county.”

The two other known sites of Roman forts in Cornwall are also in the South East of the county. One was discovered last year near Restormel Castle, Lostwithiel, and the other is at Nanstallon, near Bodmin. Both sites are close to mineral deposits in areas associated with tin mining.

This research project was generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust with additional support from the University of Exeter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Archaeologists Discover Roman Fort In Cornwall, England." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205202327.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2008, February 11). Archaeologists Discover Roman Fort In Cornwall, England. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205202327.htm
University of Exeter. "Archaeologists Discover Roman Fort In Cornwall, England." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205202327.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

Egypt Denies Claims Oldest Pyramid Damaged in Restoration

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — Egypt's antiquities minister denied Tuesday claims that the Djoser pyramid, the country's first, had been damaged during restoration work by a company accused of being unqualified to do such work. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

King Richard III's Painful Cause Of Death Revealed

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — King Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, and now researchers examining his skull think they know how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

Museum Traces Fragments of Star-Spangled Banner

AP (Sep. 12, 2014) — As the Star-Spangled Banner celebrates its bicentennial, Smithsonian curators are still uncovering fragments of the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem. (Sept. 12) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins