Excavation at Senhouse Roman Museum

2014 Excavation & Summer Events

The Roman Temples Project, Maryport

In 2013 the Roman Temples Project unearthed the north-westernmost classical temple known from the Roman world.  Our work enabled us to reconstruct the appearance of this building, with its red sandstone walls, yellow sandstone decoration and grey slate roof, and columned entrance.  The 2014 season will allow the team to complete their investigation of the building, including the section of collapsed wall recovered at its southern end.

The main focus of the 2014 season, however, will be to explore the enigmatic circular building that lies immediately to the west.  First discovered in 1880, this structure has been variously interpreted as a mausoleum or as a rare example of a round temple.  Our work has already demonstrated that the antiquarian investigations of this building in the nineteenth century missed important architectural features.  We are optimistic, therefore, that further investigation will go a long way to understanding the structure’s character and role.

Investigation of both structures forms part of Senhouse Roman Museum/Newcastle University’s research agenda for Maryport.  The site’s famous altars have long been understood to be an especially important source of material for Roman cult practice.  The project aims to determine the original context of these altars and in so doing to learn about the wider setting of ritual practices on Rome’s northern frontier.  In order to achieve this aim, the team will be scrutinizing not only the temple and the circular building nearby, but also the setting of these two elements within the wider landscape.  Geophysical survey results suggest that these buildings may have been enclosed by a ditched enclosure and this feature will be further sampled during the 2014 season

Excavation volunteers

The Senhouse Roman Museum and the team from the University of Newcastle are very keen that the local community has a real opportunity to participate. To this end there will be up to 21 placements for volunteer excavators and further placements for finds and data processing. For further details or to reserve your volunteer place contact grace.marconi@newcastle.ac.uk

The excavation is a collaboration between the Senhouse Museum Trust, Newcastle University and Hadrian's Wall Trust.