'Special' find at Cumbrian dig

Archaeologists excavating a field near the Senhouse museum in Maryport have discovered a Roman military altar.

Seventeen altar stones were originally found on the site in 1870.This latest addition comes after three months of digging on the site.

The altar is uncovered Credit: ITV Border

Volunteer John Murray, a Maryport resident, made the find. He told ITV Border:

"I decided to come back and do this year's dig as I knew there was something to find.

"I was drawn to this pit in particular and I couldn't believe it when we realised it was an altar stone. It is a very special find."

– John Murray

Over the past few weeks the team, which also includes students and professors from Newcastle University, have also unearthed Christian graves.

They believe the 18 altar stones were reused as foundation stones for a large aisled building, possibly a church.

Lead archaeologist Tony Wilmott said:

"I have been digging for 45 years and this is the most amazing find I have seen in 25 years digging in the Hadrian's Wall vicinity.

"It is truly exceptional and to have it come towards the end of the dig is fantastic and it has really put a buzz through the team."

– Tony Wilmott, lead archaeologist

The dig was made possible due to funding from The Senhouse Museum Trust.

Tony Wilmott and John Murray turn over the altar to read the inscriptions. Credit: ITV Border