Roman remains revealed at Brough open event

Newly uncovered remains of a Roman settlement close to the fort at Brough in the Hope Valley were showcased during a recent open event.
 
Visitors were treated to an insight into military life in the Peak District during Roman times when archaeologists shared findings from two months of excavations on land at Hope cement works, operated by Breedon.
 
The area was part of a Roman ‘vicus’, an adjoining settlement and workshops, outside the Roman fort at Brough – known to the Romans as Navio. Hope Valley was important to the Romans as it was a vital source of lead which was shipped all over the Empire for pipes, tanks and waterproofing, as well as a key strategic position at the heart of a Roman road network in the centre of Britain.
 
Archaeologists say the area was under Roman military control as much of the land from here northwards remained hostile to Roman occupation, and the fort at Brough was essential to maintain control of the lead trade, its processing and export.
 
The open event was hosted by Archaeological Research Services Ltd who led the excavation, supported by a dedicated group of local volunteers, in partnership the Peak District National Park Authority and a team from Breedon.
 

 
Among the discoveries were over a thousand pottery fragments, carved stone fragments, coins and a Roman ‘ballista ball’ that would have been fired from a catapult. The team also found the remains of stone-founded and timber buildings and evidence of industrial activity corroborating what is already known about the area’s lead smelting heritage. All the artefacts have been recorded and removed for further analysis.
 
Reuben Thorpe, head of field investigations for Archaeological Research Services Ltd said: “The Roman fort at Brough is a well-known ancient monument and the area has been the subject of several studies over the years. Less was known about this part of the vicus and we haven’t been disappointed.
 
“We’ve found evidence from every era of the settlement, from what we believe was its earliest establishment in the late first century (when Roman governor of Britain, Cerealis, advanced into Brigantian territory) through to the fourth century, as well as post-Roman archaeology.
 

 
“It has been a great opportunity to have been able to investigate this partially understood site thanks to the support of Breedon, as it has helped to paint a more complete picture of the military outpost at Brough and the relationship between a Roman fort and its adjoining settlement.”
 
Ed Cavanagh, works manager at Hope said: “We know the land in and around our cement works has a fascinating industrial and mining heritage dating back to Roman times and earlier. We were pleased to work with the archaeologists to help discover more about this part of our site. It’s also great that local people were able to take part in the investigation and learn more about their local history.”
 
To find out more about the site and keep up to date with the analyses of the findings visit www.archaeologicalresearchservices.com.
 
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