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Excavation opens to public after Roman streets and artefacts found

The excavation site Credit: University of Leicester

One of the largest archaeological excavation sites in Leicester has been opened to the public.

On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May, visitors are invited to look at key discoveries at the site which include the remains of one of the largest and highest-status Roman mosaic floors ever found in the city and two Roman streets.

The work is being carried out by ULAS (University of Leicester Archaeological Services) on the former Stibbe factory site, between Great Central Street and Highcross Street in central Leicester.

The excavation site Credit: University of Leicester

The university said it gives an insight into what Roman life in Leicester was like over 1,500 years ago.

A Roman brooch found in the excavation Credit: University of Leicester

Since the excavation began in September 2016, the team has uncovered two Roman streets - one east-west and the other north-south, as well as two large high-status Roman houses with evidence for a number of rooms, some of which contain mosaics of varying patterns and designs.

Dr Gavin Speed from the University of Leicester spoke to ITV Central:

Vast quantities of pottery, coins, brooches, beads, hair pins, gaming pieces and manicure objects were also found as well as a decorated knife handle cast in copper alloy, which seemingly depicts a scene showing victims thrown to the lions in the amphitheatre.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said:

This part of the city would have been at the very heart of Roman Leicester, and it continues to provide further fascinating evidence of this important part of our local history.

– City Mayor Peter Soulsby
Tiles found in during the excavation Credit: University of Leicester

It is thought the dig relates to the period following the end of Roman Leicester, when Anglo-Saxon migrants arrived from the continent and settled in the ruins of the Roman town in the 5th and 6th centuries AD.