When Carlisle Was the North's Capital

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 19, 2004 | Go to article overview
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When Carlisle Was the North's Capital


Byline: By Tony Henderson Environment Editor

Detailed evidence of everyday life from the time when Carlisle dominated the North has been revealed by a dig which unearthed 100,000 items.

So many artefacts ( some dating back to Roman times ( have been uncovered it will take archaeologists at Durham University among others almost three years to assess what they have in detail.

The results of initial analysis of the finds by a range of experts were unveiled at a three-day conference attended by 130 delegates in Carlisle.

The leader of Carlisle City Council Mike Mitchelson said: "We heard just how momentous Carlisle was as a Roman town."

The excavation was carried out at Castle Green in Carlisle, where waterlogging ensured items had been well preserved, including remains of the first two Roman wooden forts at Carlisle, then known as Luguvalium.

"We found around 550 Roman coins, many of them early coins, and they came out of the ground still shining," said John Zant, director of excavations with Oxford Archaeology North.

Such was the state of preservation that experts in tree-ring methods of dating wood can fix the time of felling of the trees to build the fort to the winter of AD72-73.

This was occupied for around 30 years and was also refurbished for the arrival of a 500-strong elite cavalry regiment of Gauls.

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