Maryport Roman dig ends

The dig in Maryport Credit: ITV Border

The Maryport Archaeological site has come to a close after eight weeks of excavation.

Archaeologists say it has once again yielded new information about life on the Roman frontier in the north of England.

It's second year a team of Newcastle University archaeologists and volunteers led by project director Professor Ian Haynes with site director Tony Wilmott has made discoveries which they say challenge and inform archaeological theories held worldwide.

Bone fragments, caps of tooth enamel, a glass bead necklace and a tiny fragment of ancient textile have been found in newly discovered early Christian graves.

Other finds include carved Roman stone work and the first complete altar stone to be unearthed at the site since 1870 when the internationally famous cache of 17 was discovered by landowner and antiquarian Humphrey Senhouse and his team.

Professor Ian Haynes has the season has been very fruitful and its highlights will keep archaeologists talking for many a year.

The Alter stone is unearthed Credit: ITV Border

Tony Wilmott the site director said the bone and textile samples will now be sent to archaeological laboratories for carbon dating, they expect the results in early 2013. The glass necklace and loose beads will be conserved for display in the Senhouse Roman Museum later on this year.

Peter Greggains from the Senhouse Museum Trust said:

Nigel Mills is the director of World Heritage and access for the Hadrian's Wall Trust. He described the finds as tremendously significant.

He said they contribute to the growing body of evidence from across Hadrian's Wall sites like Birdoswald and Vindolanda that occupation continued through the fifth and sixth centuries. He added:

The Maryport excavation has been funded by the Senhouse Museum Trust, Newcastle University and the Mouswald Trust.

The team included archaeologists and students from Newcastle University and 42 local volunteers.

The site is part of the Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site and a scheduled ancient monument. It is owned by the Hadrian's Wall Trust and is part of the proposed Roman Maryport heritage development.

The Senhouse Roman Museum has arranged two excavation round-up lectures at the Museum.

On Thursday 16 August Professor Ian Haynes will introduce the lecture by Tony Wilmott, and on Friday 17 August the lecture will be by Professor Ian Haynes.

Both start at 7.30pm. Tickets cost adults £3, children £1 - and are available in advance from the Museum.