Roman site in Leicester

University of Leicester archaeologists find new Roman site.

Roman and medieval artefacts have been found in a new archaeological dig in the centre of Leicester. The dig, at the former Southgates Bus Depot and on Peacock Lane, has uncovered fragments of wall, mosaic pavement and painted wall plaster. The site is close to Leicester’s historic centre, where the remains of Richard III were found in 2012. Other artefacts include coins, tableware, game counters, a number of bone hair pins and a copper spoon.

Roman site in Leicester

The University of Leicester team said the excavation would offer insights into the lifestyles and industry of the people living along one of Leicester’s principle medieval streets. Archaeologist John Thomas said: Having the chance to excavate in this part of Leicester is fantastic. Because of the historic nature of the modern city centre, archaeologists rarely get the opportunity to explore this part of the city. He said a number of large stone and timber buildings and boundary walls, dating from the 2nd Century through to the 4th Century had been identified running along the sides of the streets.

Fellow archaeologist Mathew Morris added: “This part of Roman Leicester is very poorly understood, because there has been little previous archaeological investigation in the vicinity. One of the Roman streets found on the site has never been seen before in Leicester and isn’t on any of our plans of the Roman city. This is a significant find and raises exciting new questions about the layout of the early Roman town and how it evolved through the Roman period.”



Viking hoard treasure

Rare Viking hoard unearthed by metal detectorist

A rare Viking hoard of arm rings, coins and silver ingots has been unearthed in Oxfordshire. The hoard was buried near Watlington around the end of the 870s, in the time of the “Last Kingdom”. This was when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex were fighting for their survival from the threat of the Vikings, which was to lead to the unification of England. Archaeologists have said the hoard is a nationally significant find.

Viking hoard treasure

The hoard was discovered by 60-year-old metal detectorist James Mather using an XP Deus metal detector.

Viking Hoard Deus metal detector

He said: “I hope these amazing artefacts can be displayed by a local museum to be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The find in October was lifted in a block of soil and brought to the British Museum, where it was excavated and studied by experts from the British Museum in London and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The hoard consists of 186 coins – some fragmentary – and includes rarities from the reign of King Alfred “the Great” of Wessex, who reigned from 871 to 899, and King Ceolwulf II, who reigned in Mercia from 874 to 79. During this period, King Alfred achieved a decisive victory over the Vikings at the famous Battle of Edington in 878, prompting them to move north of the Thames and travel to East Anglia through the kingdom of Mercia.

Rare Viking hoard

Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coinage at the British Museum, said it was a key moment in English history as Alfred forged a new kingdom of England by taking control of Mercia. This hoard has the potential to provide important new information on relations between Mercia and Wessex at the beginning of that process.

Seven items of jewellery and 15 ingots were also found. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, said “Fascinating finds like this Viking hoard are a great example of the one million discoveries that have been unearthed by the public since 1997.”

Under the Treasure Act 1996, there is a legal obligation for finders to report such treasures.