Roman jug unearthed at site of new theatre

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They came, they saw, they conquered – and they left behind some fascinating artefacts. Archaeologists working on the site of Doncaster’s new civic and cultural quarter have unearthed a rare Roman glass jug dating back to around AD150. 

Archaeologists working on the site of Doncasters Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) have uncovered a rare Roman glass jug dating back to about AD150 on the site of a former Roman cremation cemetery [Credit: Doncaster Free Press]

The area is believed to have been the site of a Roman cemetery where cremations took place. And on Saturday visitors will be able to tour the excavation site in the company of archeologists to learn about the jug and other finds, as well as about the town’s important Roman history. 

“To find such a fascinating Roman artefact in exceptional condition is quite remarkable. Doncaster has a long and distinguished Roman history which pre-dates places like York, “ said mayor Peter Davies. 

Andy Lines of South Yorkshire Archaeology Service added: “The cremation ceremony appears to have been in use from about AD 140-180. Careful planning by the council is allowing us to really enrich our knowledge of this period of Doncaster’s past.” 

The unearthed vessel, which is 15cm tall and was found close to the site of the new performance venue, would have been filled with rich goods like oils and placed next to a high status burial with the neck of the jug deliberately broken off to be placed in the grave. 

A similar vessel was found in the 1960s when the Arndale Centre – later the Frenchgate Shopping Centre – was being built. Now restored, the piece is on display in Doncaster Museum. 

Doncaster’s Roman history dates back nearly 2,000 years and the town was then known as Danum. A Roman fort was established close to the Market Place near the minster in around AD71. 

Saturday’s event, which coincides with the Festival of British Archaeology, runs from noon to 4pm on the site of the former Waterdale car park. 

As well as chatting to the archeologists involved, visitors will be able to see displays of other artefacts found in Doncaster and staff from the tourist information centre and museum will be on hand. Stout footwear is recommended. 

“I urge people to attend the open day so they can learn about our Roman roots and see a real life archaeological site. It will an enjoyable and informative day,” said Mr Davies. 

Source: Doncaster Free Press [July 21, 2011]

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