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Roman bath house found in Carlisle

Roman ruins described as a "once-in-a-lifetime find" have been discovered during work to rebuild a cricket pavilion in Carlisle.

Roman bath house found in Carlisle
The site at Edenside [Credit: Stuart Walker, The Cumberland News]
The remains of a Roman Bath House were uncovered as part of work to move Carlisle Cricket Club's pavilion, which was damaged during Storm Desmond.

The site is thought to be about 1,600 years old and has already unearthed weapons, pottery and coins. The find is close to the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage site.

Roman bath house found in Carlisle
Archaeologist Frank Giecco views the inscription carved onto a piece of stone
 [Credit: Stuart Walker, The Cumberland News]

Archaeologist Kevin Mounsey said some writing on one piece of carved stone referred to the wife of the Roman emperor Septimus Severus, who reigned from 193-211 AD.

He said: "We know that the emperor and his wife were staying in York at about that time. Inscriptions are always the best thing to find on site because it's written history and it tells us what was going on at a particular time."

Mr Mounsey said the discovery had come as a "complete surprise" to everyone.

He added: "The importance of this find is off-the-scale and I think it's of national significance. We're talking about a Roman bath house that belonged to the largest fort on Hadrian's Wall. We've also found stacks of terracotta tiles which would have formed part of the under-floor heating system that the baths used. To discover something like this is absolutely fantastic."

Roman bath house found in Carlisle
A terracotta water pipe [Credit: Stuart Walker, The Cumberland News]
Carlisle City Council leader Colin Glover said: "If we can make this work for the city, this could do for Carlisle what the Jorvik Viking discoveries did for York.

"The archaeologists now need to analyse what they have found and we then need to work with the cricket club and potential funders to see where we go from here."

Roman bath house found in Carlisle
Some of the artefacts found [Credit: Stuart Walker, The Cumberland News]
Carlisle Cricket Club said it would work with the archaeological team and the city council to preserve the site and look for an alternative location for its new pavilion.

Source: BBC News Website [May 28, 2017]

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