In the UK, remains of a high-status Roman villa and bathhouse are uncovered for the first time – under a construction site in Scarborough
- Excavations in Yorkshire housing estate uncover mansion and bathhouse
- The “nationally important” site can even represent a religious Roman sanctuary
- Historic England said they were far more than they had ever dreamed of discovering.
Remains of a Roman villa and high status bathhouse have been discovered under construction near Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
The “fantastic find” was made during archaeological digs in a housing estate in the small town of Eastfield.
Excavations revealed a large complex of buildings, including a circular central room with several rooms leading from it, and the bathhouse.
Archaeologists believe the remains likely represent a high-ranking luxury Roman villa or religious sanctuary, or a combination of both.
They are likely the first of their kind in Great Britain and possibly throughout the ancient Roman Empire, which stretched from England to western Asia at its height around AD 100.
Photograph from historic England of rare Roman remains discovered during archaeological digs at a housing estate in Eastfield, Scarborough
“These archaeological remains are a fantastic find and far more than we have ever dreamed of discovering in this location,” said Keith Emerick, Inspector of Ancient Monuments in Historic England.
“They already give us a better knowledge and understanding of Roman Britain.”
The developer Keepmoat Homes hired archaeologists to excavate the site, which has now been redesigned to preserve the find.
“We thank Keepmoat Homes for their sensitive and professional approach to ensuring the future preservation of this important historic site,” said Emerick.
Historic England said it would recommend protecting the remains as a nationally important planned memorial.
A planned monument is an important archaeological or historical site that is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
Eastfield is a city in North Yorkshire, England. Developer Keepmoat Homes is based in Doncaster
The excavations revealed a large complex of buildings, including a circular central room with several rooms leading from it, and a bathhouse
A spokesman for historic England said the remains were more significant than expected.
“This type of building arrangement has never been seen before in Britain and may even be the first of its kind to be discovered in the entire former Roman Empire,” they said.
Historic England will grant aid for additional archaeological work, including the analysis and publication of discoveries made on the site.
“This is a remarkable discovery that adds to the history of Roman settlement in North Yorkshire,” said Karl Battersby, corporate director of business and environmental services for North Yorkshire County Council.
‘Work by archaeologists from North Yorkshire has already shown that the buildings were designed by the best architects in Northern Europe of the time and built by the best craftsmen.
Archeology experts believe the remains likely represent a high-ranking luxury Roman villa or religious sanctuary, or perhaps a combination of both
‘Given the importance, it’s great to see that the layout of the new home has been redesigned to keep this important part of our history intact.
“There will be more work on the finds and environmental samples to determine exactly what this enigmatic site was and why it was created so far from other Roman centers.”
David Walker, Head of Planning for Scarborough Borough Council added: ‘We are pleased to modify Keepmo’s original planning proposal to allow the preservation of this nationally important archaeological discovery.
“In creating new homes for future generations, it is only right that we keep alive the fascinating stories of those who went before us and how they lived.”
How England spent almost half a millennium under Roman rule
55 BC BC – Julius Caesar crossed the canal with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed in Pegwell Bay on the Isle of Thanet and were hit by British troops. Caesar had to withdraw.
54 BC BC – Caesar crossed the canal again on his second attempt to conquer Great Britain. He came with 27,000 infantrymen and cavalrymen and landed in Deal, but was without objection. They marched inland and, after hard fighting, defeated the British and important tribal leaders surrendered.
Later that year, however, Caesar had to return to Gaul to solve problems there, and the Romans left.
54 BC Chr. – 43 BC BC – Although there were no Romans present in Britain during those years, their influence increased due to trade links.
AD 43 – A Roman force of 40,000 men, led by Aulus Plautius, landed in Kent and conquered the southeast. The Emperor Claudius appointed Plautius governor of Great Britain and returned to Rome.
AD 47 – Londinium (London) was founded and Great Britain was declared part of the Roman Empire. Road networks have been built across the country.
AD 50 – The Romans arrived in the southwest and made their mark in the form of a wooden fortress on a hill near the River Exe. A city was founded on the site of the fortress decades later and is called Isca.
When the Romans left and the Saxons ruled, all ex-Roman cities were called “Ceaster”. This was called “Exe Ceaster” and a merger of these eventually resulted in Exeter.
AD 75-77 – The Romans defeated the last of the resilient tribes and made all of Britain Roman. Many British people began to adopt Roman customs and laws.
122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered a wall to be built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.
312 AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman Empire.
AD 228 – The Romans were attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country were recalled to Rome.
410 AD – All the Romans were recalled to Rome, and Emperor Honorious informed the British that they no longer had any connection with Rome.
Source: History on the Net