Sunday, 23 May 2010

Papcastle Roman Fort - volunteers wanted

A major investigation into Roman remains uncovered in the aftermath of Cockermouth's devastating floods is set to get underway this month.

Volunteers are needed for groundbreaking work on what is believed to be a settlement near the Papcastle Roman fort, surveyed by Channel 4's Time Team a decade ago but still not thoroughly excavated.

Forthcoming geophysical searches for buildings, roads and signs of occupation follow significant recent finds of possible foundations and a lot of pottery, unearthed by receding flood waters.

Organised by Bassenthwaite Reflections' Unlocking Hidden Heritage project, volunteers will be helping to piece together fascinating pieces of history in the first area study of its kind.

Using magnetometers - instruments that can detect buried walls - exploration will centre on fields alongside the River Derwent.

Project leader Mark Graham, of Grampus Heritage and Training, said there was real potential for adding to the compelling jigsaw of Roman occupation in the county.

He said: "With the help of volunteers, we were delighted to lead the nationally significant discovery of a camp, thought to date back to the first century at Castlerigg, near Keswick, two years ago.

"Now, through Heritage Lottery Fund supported Reflections, we have another amazing opportunity to find further vital Roman evidence.

"A considerable amount of pottery has been found post floods. We've always suspected the Romans had some sort of river crossing at Papcastle. Hopefully, our searches might provide some answers."

Details from the survey and excavation will form part of the county's archaeological record. Mark said the research could also bring important information for flood prevention and recovery measures currently under discussion.

He added: "This is a fantastic opportunity for volunteers to get involved in this unique survey and we look forward to hearing from anyone interested."

Fieldwork takes place from 24 to 28 May. For details contact Grampus Heritage and Training on 016973 21516, email

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