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Itter Crescent’s Roman villa finds revealed

Archaeologist Sarah Henley talks to David Favell, 67, at Paston and Gunthorpe community centre, about Roman artefacts discovered at nearby Itter Park Allotment. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough ET (METP-28-01-12PF005)

Archaeologist Sarah Henley talks to David Favell, 67, at Paston and Gunthorpe community centre, about Roman artefacts discovered at nearby Itter Park Allotment. Photo: Paul Franks/Peterborough ET (METP-28-01-12PF005)

  • by KEN McERLAIN
 

ARTEFACTS from a stunning Roman villa which was unearthed in Walton, Peterborough went on display at the weekend.

Dozens of intrigued people packed into the Paston and Gunthorpe Community Centre on Saturday to view the items and chat to archaeologists.

The ET reported earlier this month how the discovery of a villa, at a former allotment site, in Itter Crescent, Walton, had led archaeologists to consider “re-writing” the city’s history books as there has previously been little evidence of local Roman occupation.

The site is now being developed by Bellway Homes but archaeologists say the villa’s remains show that it was a place where wealthy Romans lived.

The display contained dozens of items found at the site including pottery, jewellery, brooches, tools and wall plaster dating back more than 2,000 years.

Alex Pickstone, project officer for Oxford Archaeology, which carried out the dig, said: “We certainly weren’t expecting so many people to come along to the display – it seems to have captured people’s imaginations.

“This was a very unique find and we were surprised that the villa and many of the artefacts found were in such a good condition.

“We found numerous pieces of pottery including bowls and jugs and many were still in one piece.

“It’s difficult to say if there are any more sites like this in the local area. Roman settlements tended to be quite isolated so we’re treating this as a unique discovery.”

James Drummond-Murray, project manager for Oxford Archaeology, added: “Underneath the villa was an Iron Age settlement, dating back to 100BC.

“It is possible that the villa was built for an Iron Age chief.

“The discovery allows us to look at the possible locations of roads and communication networks in the area at the time.”

John Berry (52), from Werrington, who visited the display, said: “It’s fascinating.

“I’m surprised that many of the items are in good condition, some of the pottery looks really good.

“It makes you wonder what other ancient ruins could be out there.”

Sue Coates, (56), from Paston, added: “Seeing the pottery and the brooches has opened my eyes as to how skilled the Romans were.

“It’s a really interesting display and I’ve learned a lot about my Peterborough predecessors.”

Staff from Oxford Archaeology are preparing to publish an official report into the discovery.

It is likely that the artefacts will eventually be displayed at Peterborough Museum.

 

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