Remains of Roman ’shanty town’ uncovered in England

May 8th, 2009 - 12:55 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 8 (ANI): Archaeologists have unearthed remains of a large Roman “shanty town” in Teesdale, England, that could shed light on the last days of the occupation of Britain.

Excavations carried out in Bowes have revealed significant evidence of an unplanned settlement, called a vicus, which grew up on the outskirts of the Roman fort.

Archaeologists discovered stone walls, foundations of wooden buildings, flooring, the remains of a huge Roman building, and large amounts of Roman pottery thought to date from the second and third centuries.

Historians believe hundreds of people would have lived at the site.

However, the finds have puzzled experts because it appears that the settlement was lived in for longer than other similar sites in northern England, including Housesteads on Hadrian’s Wall.

According to Richard Carlton, from The Archaeological Practice Ltd, the Bowes settlement would have resembled a “shanty town”.

“The excavations were significant as they showed that there was occupation outside the Roman fort until possibly the fourth century,” he said.

“That’s quite unusual in northern Britain as life in similar settlements seem to stop in the middle of the third century. Why that’s the case is anyone’s guess,” he added.

Little is known about the final days of Roman life in Britain, but tradition holds that towards the end of the occupation, the garrison at Bowes ran amok.

Legend has it that locals retaliated by storming the fort and massacring the legionaries. (ANI)

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