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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Temple ruin goes hi-tech
Roman army
Romans are thought to have worshipped at the site
Ancient ruins unearthed by builders on a housing development in Wiltshire could be turned into a tourist attraction.

Archaeologists believe the discovery, much of which is still buried beneath a modern housing estate, is an extensive Roman water temple.

Now experts are examining the idea of using display panels to simulate the temple and setting up a website to recreate how the site would have looked.

There has been uncertainty over what to do about the find since is was stumbled upon by workmen at Abbey Meads, Swindon, in 1996.

Play area

At that time the construction of 25 new houses was cancelled.

The site, surrounded by about 1,000 houses, is still used by locals as a play area.

Paul Weston, from Land Use, a firm researching how to develop the ruins, said: "We are proposing a small observatory platform where you will be able to look at a reconstruction of the site."

A hoard of silver coins and a stone-lined water system were also discovered at the location.


There are hundreds of metres of stonework below the site and the cost of digging it up is a major problem

Paul Weston, Environmental Consultant

Experts believe people once gathered at the bottom of the hill to walk along water channels and offer money to a statute at the top.

Mr Weston said: "There is an issue about how local people would react to visitors coming to the site.

"Footpaths will have to be built on raised surfaces.

"There are hundreds of metres of stonework below the site and the cost of digging it up is a major problem.

"But we are very interested in working out how the spring water was channelled across the site.

"So we are setting up a website and an interactive computer programme to do this, and we also hope to use the site to train archaeologists and promote research by the public."


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