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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 11:54 GMT
City dig may shed light on Romans
Whitefriars shopping centre
The car park is surplus since the Whitefriars centre was built
Archaeologists hope a plan to build 20 new houses in the centre of Canterbury will turn up new information about the Roman occupation of Britain.

The Rosemary Lane site, which is on top of two Kent Roman military bases, will be excavated before building begins.

"The base established at the Conquest was re-established in the 60s AD, maybe to do with the Boudiccan rebellion," said archaeologist Paul Bennett.

"There is always the prospect of finding something new."

Mr Bennett, of Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said the Iceni uprising led by Boudicca caused pandemonium in the Roman province of Britannia.

The most important thing is that the development shouldn't destroy what is underneath
Paul Bennett

"The base which appears to have been constructed at that time was finally abandoned about AD70," he said.

"This was possibly associated with more Roman troop movements up north.

"Even though you know the bare bones of what is going on in the city, there is so much more to discover."

The site is currently a car park for 89 vehicles, but Canterbury City Council said the spaces were surplus since new car parks had been built in Whitefriars shopping centre and Castle Street.

No plans have yet been submitted but the site, which is in a Conservation Area and Area of Archaeological Importance, has been scheduled for housing.

"The most important thing is that the development shouldn't destroy what is underneath," said Mr Bennett.

"There are ways of building a house now on rafts that keep its foundations out of the archaeology."


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