Tuesday, July 09, 2019


Archaeologists have discovered a Roman road and possible ancient mine during excavations in Cornwall as they work to discover more about the history of the county.

As well as the possible mine they have discovered a Roman road, which would have served regular military traffic in and out of the fort. The excavation has revealed a rare glimpse of timber-built Roman military buildings constructed outside of the fort, as well as a series of rubbish and cesspits, indicating that the Roman army was also active outside of the fort's defenses.

The archaeologists have also found the remains of a medieval timber longhouse, suggesting the site was later occupied between the 8th and early 13th century but was then deserted. This explains why the parish church, originally built to be at the heart of a hamlet or village, is now isolated.

Dr. Smart said: "It has been wonderful working with so many of the local community to better understand the area's Roman and medieval past. We are very pleased to have found such a well-made Roman road and the possible mine workings have proved a real unexpected bonus. Whilst we still do not know their age, it is possible that they are from the medieval period."

No objects were found in the possible mine, making it hard to date when it was used. One of the deep pits cuts into the Roman road, so it is likely that they are later than the Roman military occupation of the area. Calstock Roman fort was discovered in 2007 as part of an earlier University of Exeter project to investigate medieval silver mining in Bere Ferrers, on the opposite side of the River Tamar, in Devon. Excavations between 2008 and 2011 provided evidence that it was constructed in around AD 50, and remained in use with a garrison of about 500 men for 30 years. At some point in the life of the fort a second defensive circuit was added to enclose and protect buildings outside of the fort, and this may point to a period of heightened threat.

The excavation has now finished but visitors to the site can find out more by reading an information board outside the parish cemetery, or at the project's website.


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