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Secrets Of Caistor Roman Town (Venta Icenorum)

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Bianca
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« on: July 02, 2009, 08:34:05 am »










                            Stunning Survey Unveils New Secrets Of Caistor Roman Town






ScienceDaily
(Dec. 21, 2007)

— On the morning of Friday July 20, 1928, the crew of an RAF aircraft took photographs over the site of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk, a site which now lies in open fields to the south of Norwich.

The exceptionally dry summer meant that details of the Roman town were clearly revealed as parched lines in the barley. The pictures appeared on the front page of The Times on March 4, 1929 and caused a sensation.

Now, new investigations at Caistor Roman town using the latest technology have revealed the plan of the buried town at an extraordinary level of detail which has never been seen before. The high-resolution geophysical survey used a Caesium Vapour magnetometer to map buried remains across the entire walled area of the Roman town.

The research at Caistor is being directed by Dr Will Bowden of The University of Nottingham, who worked with Dr David Bescoby and Dr Neil Chroston of the University of East Anglia on the new survey, sponsored by the British Academy. Around 30 local volunteer members of the Caistor Roman Town Project also assisted.

The survey has produced the clearest plan of the town yet seen confirming the street plan (shown by previous aerial photographs), the town's water supply system (detecting the iron collars connecting wooden water pipes), and the series of public buildings including the baths, temples and forum, known from earlier excavations.

However, the survey also showed that earlier interpretations of the town as a densely occupied urban area — given by reconstruction paintings — may be totally wrong. Buildings were clustered along the main streets of the town, but other areas within the street grid seem to have been empty and were perhaps used for grazing or cultivation.

Dr Bowden, a lecturer in Roman Archaeology, said: "The results of the survey have far exceeded our expectations. It's not an exaggeration to say that the survey has advanced our knowledge of Caistor to the same extent that the first aerial photograph did 80 years ago.

“The presence of possible Iron Age and Saxon features suggests that the town had a much longer life than we previously thought and the fact that it's just sitting there in open fields instead of being under a modern town means we can ask the questions we want to.

“For an archaeologist it's a dream opportunity to really examine how European towns developed."
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