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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 October, 2004, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Sea damaging Roman burial site
There are concerns for part of Cumbria's Roman heritage, which is being damaged by erosion.

Roman invaders buried and cremated their dead at Beckfoot, which lies north of Maryport.

Now the site is being badly damaged by the sea and work is being done to try to save its relics.

Local volunteers have been gathering artefacts which are being found on the beach and an underground survey of the site has now started.

Community archaeologist from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Faye Simpson said: "Some of the problem is quite serious. Beckfoot is actually quite amazing and we think quite a large cremation cemetery.

'Amazing extent'

"Unfortunately we don't know the extent of it, we don't know exactly how many people were buried there. All we do know is these cremations seem to be quite wealthy.

"The finds that are coming up are pins, brooches and a statue and subsequently we really need to do something. It's eroding into the sea at an amazing extent."

She said they were trying to organise an excavation but she said, because the problem was being caused by a natural process, archaeological organisations are struggling to help because it is not in their remit.

She said they were trying to make people aware of the situation to win public support for protecting the site.

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