Village’s Roman past explained by dig findings

Some of the 200 visitors to the public open event at Navenby interested to hear the findings of last summer's dig. EMN-150604-140601001
Some of the 200 visitors to the public open event at Navenby interested to hear the findings of last summer's dig. EMN-150604-140601001

A special open event for the public was staged in Navenby to share the discoveries of archaeology enthusiasts from a dig in their village.

The event was held on March 21, at The Venue as part of Navenby Archaeology Group’s commitment to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financing the project with a £54,800 grant to enable work to be carried out using volunteers and professional archaeologists.

They spent 60 days on site last summer, allowing complete excavation from the surface to the natural geology in an 8m x 8m plot.

Ian Cox from the group said: “Eight phases of occupation were recorded and started when the site was possibly first used as a quarry during the 1st century with limestone being excavated and possibly used for building Ermine Street.

“The site was then levelled and possibly used for keeping animals, stables, barn type activities in the third century. Most finds date to 4th and early 5th century with evidence of food preparation and eating activities.”

A total of 8,000 pieces of pottery were recovered and according to the pottery specialist the site has produced the best collection of late Roman pottery in Lincolnshire.

Mr Cox said: “The biggest surprise was the lack of personal items on site during the 400 years of occupation, that again points to the main use was possibly for service rather than domestic.”

Other highlights were:

○ A complete child burial plus eight disturbed child burials (remains scattered across the site during demolition and rebuilding works).

○ More than 300 low denomination coins found scattered in an area that may have been used as a purchasing/eating/gaming area; very similar to roadside facilities discovered at Pompeii.

○ More than 300 pieces of glass vessels; mainly for drinking; again pointing to a food/drink outlet. Several metal styli, possibly used for writing orders for purchasing goods/accounts/tax on wax tablets.

○ Two small stone portable altars for offerings. Very simple rustic decoration with no inscriptions.

Mr Cox added: “None of this could have been achieved without the help of many supporters, especially the 160 volunteers who took part in the works and some of whom were in the audience of 206 at the open day.”