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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Roman relics vanish from storage
Carlisle Castle
The Roman dig took place at Carlisle Castle in 2000
Police are investigating the disappearance of rare Roman artefacts which have gone missing from storage in Carlisle.

The items, including part of a Roman uniform, were uncovered during the city's millennium dig in 2000.

The pieces, which could fetch a six-figure-sum at sale, disappeared more than six months ago, but the news has only now been made public.

Cumbria Police has confirmed it is investigating the disappearance of the items, which were in six boxes in a Carlisle City Council storage building.

Spinning wheel

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: "We are investigating the disappearance of a number of artefacts that had been discovered at the site of a Roman dig in Carlisle."

Items missing include two Roman shoulder plates, Roman coins, glassware, jewellery and copper, together with a Viking bone comb and whorl - part of a spinning wheel.

Their disappearance was discovered last year when Oxford Archaeology North took over from Carlisle Archaeology Ltd, a commercial offshoot of Bradford University.

The items had been unearthed during a millennium dig on Castle Green next to Carlisle Castle during 2000.

'Police matter'

One of the joint dig leaders, Gerry Martin, said: "It's a huge blow for historians. Some of the items were unique and extremely rare."

A spokesman for Carlisle City Council said: "The council has liaised closely with and taken the advice of English Heritage and the county archaeologist in matters connected with the excavation, storage and treatment.

"The items were regarded as being stored in good condition and thorough checks were made to ensure their continued upkeep.

"The matter is now in the hands of the police, so we are unable to speculate on what might have happened to the artefacts."

They said the city council was only storing the items on behalf of English Heritage, which was the owner of the items discovered in the dig.


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17 May 02 | England
13 Mar 02 | England
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