Friday, 22 July 2011

Event - Doncaster’s Roman culture on show in new cultural quarter

Archaeologists working on the site of Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) have uncovered a rare Roman glass jug dating back to about AD150 on the site of a former Roman cremation cemetery.

The vessel would have been filled with rich goods like oils and placed next a high status burial. The neck of the jug may have been deliberately broken off when placed in the burial. At about 15cm in height and in excellent condition it was found close to the planned site of the new performance venue. A similar vessel was found in the 1960s when the Arndale Centre, now the Frenchgate Shopping Centre, was being built. This vessel has been restored and is on display at Doncaster Museum.

To coincide with the ‘Festival of British Archaeology’, the archaeological site on Waterdale Central Car Park is being opened up to the public on Saturday, 23rd July between 12 and 4pm.

During the open day there will be tours of the excavation. People can talk with the archaeologists about their work and what has been found in the Roman cemetery. It is also an opportunity to learn about Doncaster’s Roman history which dates back nearly 2000 years. A Roman Fort was established close to the Market Place around the site of Doncaster Minster in about AD71.

Staff from Doncaster’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC) and Museum will be on hand with interesting displays and artefacts found in Doncaster dating back to this period. Visitors are asked to wear stout footwear.

Andy Lines of South Yorkshire Archaeology Service said: “The cremation cemetery appears to have been in use from about AD140-180. Careful planning by the council is allowing us to really enrich our knowledge of this period of Doncaster’s past.”

The archaeological works are being carried out by ArcHeritage in conjunction with consultants Scott Wilson under the supervision of the council’s development partner Muse Developments and advisors, South Yorkshire Archaeology Service.

The archaeological works are part of the preparation works for Doncaster’s public square and new performance venue, which form part of the council led CCQ development. Work on these two key developments will start later this summer.

A series of practice trenches dug by soldiers as part of a recruitment exercise during World War One have also been revealed on the site. After the excavation, experts will analyse all the remains including the glass jug, cremation urns and burnt bones to add to the story of Doncaster’s Roman past. The finds will then be deposited in Doncaster Museum.

Doncaster’s TIC offers a popular heritage walk around the town centre on the first Friday of the month starting at 10.30am. More details about this and other attractions can be found at:

The CCQ project is supported financially by the European Union, as part of the European Regional Development Fund’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

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