But we have to wait a while for the television program:
A GLIMPSE of life under the Romans has been unearthed by TV star Tony Robinson and his Time Team archaeologists in the village of Castor.
Filming in the historic grounds of St Kyneburgha Church for the BBC show, to be broadcast next spring, the team made great strides in uncovering the mysterious past of the site.
Guided by previous excavations carried out by 19th century archaeologist Edmund Artis, who is buried at the church, Mr Robinson and his team were delighted to discover the remains of what could be a plush Roman villa dating back to the second or third century.
The team has been digging since Tuesday but the biggest discovery happened yesterday lunchtime, when a mosaic floor was discovered beneath some 17th century graves.
The finding certainly pleased Mr Robinson, who said: “I was initially surprised at how little we were finding, given the history of the site, but it was just a case of digging a little deeper.
“The mosaic does seem to back up previous suggestions that there was a grand Roman building or set of buildings.
“The problem with Castor is that a lot of its history is a bit foggy and nobody knows the complete picture, but we’re hoping we will be able to contribute to a greater understanding about its past.”
Among the discoveries made were several walls which suggest that the area was used as a private complex by a wealthy Roman citizen, complete with Roman baths near Peterborough Road.
Time Team archaeologist Phil Harding was working on unearthing the mosaic flooring in the graveyard and said there was evidence previous gravediggers could not find their way through.
He said: “We’ve been finding a lot of bones in the trench and it seems like gravediggers were finding it impossible to dig past the mosaic and so were just burying people three feet deep.”
Current church gravedigger David Reed said he was pleased that the dig had been successful. He said: “It’s nice to see so much history in this area being brought out into the open.”
Roman finds uncovered by the floods of last November have excited archaeologists – and are set for a major investigation.
The remains of a Roman fort at Papcastle have been open for several years, but nobody has ever known the shape of local roads, the size of the civilian settlement attached to it, where the river Derwent ran and where it was crossed, or where the site’s cemetery was located.
However, the floods which devastated Cockermouth last year also washed up several fragments of pottery, carved stone and possible architectural remains on the opposite side of the Derwent from Papcastle, giving new hope that some of the area’s ancient mysteries could soon be uncovered.
Now, archaeologists from Grampus Heritage and Training are to launch a survey of the land around where the finds appeared, and hope to find the remains of buildings, roads, and signs of occupation.
Using magnetometers – instruments that can detect buried walls – exploration will centre on fields alongside the River Derwent.
Project leader Mark Graham said the finds were exciting and could illustrate the size and shape of the domestic area around the fort.
He said: “A considerable amount of pottery has been found post floods. We’ve always suspected the Romans had some sort of river crossing at Papcastle. Hopefully, our searches might provide some answers.
“The field we are starting in is on the opposite side of the field from Papcastle – that may be evidence of a river crossing, or it may be that the course of river has moved and the site where we are looking was on the same side. We don’t really know the road layout around there, we don’t know where the cemetery was.”
Channel Four’s Time Team had looked at an area around Papcastle, but never as far from the fort remains as the new finds.
And there has never been a systematic geophysical investigation, but the new project will see magnetometers – instruments that can detect buried walls – used to survey a large area near where the finds were made.
Mr Graham added: “We will see if we can see into the soil. The logical next step would then be targeted excavation, with landowner permission, of particular features. We can’t guarantee the survey will produce anything, but by the end of June we should have an idea of how successful it has been.”
Volunteers are being sought to help with the investigation, details from which will form part of the county’s archaeological record.
Fieldwork takes place from May 24 to 28.