Search for Roman house in Saltford unearths fascinating finds

Published on: 03 Dec 2016

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A new search for Roman ruins hidden beneath the Saltford countryside has brought the community a step closer to uncovering secrets from its ancient past.

Volunteers from Saltford Environment Group (SEG) teamed up with members of Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) in November to carry out a geophysical survey of a field where a coffin from the era, complete with a young man’s skeleton inside, was discovered in 1948.

Over two days, with the landowner’s permission, the group used specialist equipment to map out what lies underneath the farmland south of the village.

Having previously found signs of what could be a Roman structure in a section of the field, as well as evidence of prehistoric roundhouses, in a similar search last year, the team focused on this area – eventually mapping out what appears to be a large building about 60 metres by 70 metres in size.

A SEG spokesperson said: “This is very close to where the Roman stone coffin complete with Roman skeleton was found in 1948 and in view of the Roman artefacts found at this location this could well be a Roman building. To the left (west) of the building are two large ditches running east-west. These might be for retaining livestock, irrigation or some other purpose.”

The findings will now be analysed by BACAS before issuing a final report on what they have discovered.

Previous searches with metal detectors at the site have revealed a number of Roman coins and bronze items, as well as a brooch which is earmarked to go on display in a future heritage centre. Archaeology experts are satisfied all metal artefacts have been discovered so now the focus is on what the stone remains can tell us.

More information about Saltford in Roman times and news on the geophysical findings are available at the Saltford Online Museum at www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk/history/index.html 

  • Picture: Phil Harding

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