ROMAN SETTLEMENT REMAINS UNCOVERED
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have launched an investigation after remains of a Roman settlement were uncovered at a farm in Rocester.
Eyes Farm, in Dove Lane, has been bought by Radmore Homes, which plans to develop 16 homes on the site.
But an archaeological dig ahead of the construction phase has revealed evidence of an ancient settlement.
Rocester Parish Council briefly discussed the find at a meeting on Monday.
Parish council member Philip Atkins revealed: “They have had to carry out an archaeological dig. They have found something, but can’t say anything about it yet.”
It is thought the dig was part of the conditional planning permission which was granted by East Staffordshire Borough Council last year.
It is unclear as yet exactly what has been found at the site but formal enquiries into what the settlement may be and how significant the findings are, is expected to continue.
Gill Heath, cabinet member for communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “Archaeologists have discovered Roman settlement remains during archaeological investigations on the site.
“The Rocester area is well known for its Roman archaeology and Historic Environment specialists at the council will be working closely with the developer and their archaeological contractor to discuss how the remains should be managed.”
Two scheduled monuments are recorded in Rocester, including a buried Roman fort and the remains of an Augustinian abbey.
Roman pottery and coins have been found at several sites in the village along with evidence of structures and a paved stone surface.
Staffordshire County Council’s Historic Character Assessment of Rocester records the village’s evolution from prehistoric times to the modern day.
It states: “Three phases of successive fort building, dating between the late 1st and mid 2nd century AD have been identified through archaeological work.
“These forts were associated with a vicus (civilian settlement) which grew up alongside them.
“A large number of archaeological investigations have been carried out in Rocester over the years.
“The archaeological importance of the village was first noted in the 18th century when Roman finds began to be made, particularly in the area of the water mill on the River Dove.
“However, the first archaeological excavation was not carried out until 1913 at Dove First School, when a trench was excavated across the playground.
“The first comprehensive excavation was carried out by Graham Webster at the New Cemetery site in 1961.
“Further work was carried out in the mid-1980s by the Birmingham University field archaeology unit, under the direction of Iain Ferris.
“The investigations included not only the New Cemetery but also Orton’s Pasture and Dove First School.
“There have been six large scale archaeological investigations in Rocester which have primarily focused on the Roman origins of the village.”
The name Rocester is thought to mean Hrof’s Castle, although the latter half of the name may also come from old English ‘ceaster’ meaning a fortress or Roman city.
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