Time Team dig up Roman villa at Castor

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A GLIMPSE of life under the Romans has been unearthed by TV star Tony Robinson and his Time Team archaeologists in the village of Castor.

Filming in the historic grounds of St Kyneburgha Church for the BBC show, to be broadcast next spring, the team made great strides in uncovering the mysterious past of the site.

Guided by previous excavations carried out by 19th century archaeologist Edmund Artis, who is buried at the church, Mr Robinson and his team were delighted to discover the remains of what could be a plush Roman villa dating back to the second or third century.

The team has been digging since Tuesday but the biggest discovery happened yesterday lunchtime, when a mosaic floor was discovered beneath some 17th century graves.

The finding certainly pleased Mr Robinson, who said: “I was initially surprised at how little we were finding, given the history of the site, but it was just a case of digging a little deeper.

“The mosaic does seem to back up previous suggestions that there was a grand Roman building or set of buildings.

“The problem with Castor is that a lot of its history is a bit foggy and nobody knows the complete picture, but we’re hoping we will be able to contribute to a greater understanding about its past.”

Among the discoveries made were several walls which suggest that the area was used as a private complex by a wealthy Roman citizen, complete with Roman baths near Peterborough Road.

Time Team archaeologist Phil Harding was working on unearthing the mosaic flooring in the graveyard and said there was evidence previous gravediggers could not find their way through.

He said: “We’ve been finding a lot of bones in the trench and it seems like gravediggers were finding it impossible to dig past the mosaic and so were just burying people three feet deep.”

Current church gravedigger David Reed said he was pleased that the dig had been successful. He said: “It’s nice to see so much history in this area being brought out into the open.”