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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 13:21 GMT
Secrets of Roman town unearthed
Town reconstruction
A reconstruction of how the town may have looked
New hi-tech investigations of a Roman town in Norfolk have revealed it to be one of international importance, leading archaeologists have said.

A high-resolution geophysical survey was carried out at the buried town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund.

It has shown detail never seen before, including a semi-circular building which looks like a Roman theatre.

The survey also used a scanning device to map out buried remains across the entire walled area of the Roman town.

The site was first discovered in July 1928 when the crew of an RAF aircraft took photographs in the area.

The town is already well-established as the most important Roman site in northern East Anglia
David Gurney, archaelogist

The exceptionally dry summer meant details of the Roman town were revealed as parched lines in the barley.

The pictures later appeared on the front page of The Times.

The site is owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and managed by South Norfolk Council.

The new research at Caistor is being led by Dr Will Bowden of The University of Nottingham.

The survey has produced the clearest plan of the town showing the town's water supply system and public buildings, including the baths, temples and forum.

Town reconstruction
Life at Roman Caistor was thought to have ended in the 5th century AD

Dr Bowden said: "The results of the survey have far exceeded our expectations.

"For an archaeologist it's a dream opportunity to really examine how European towns developed."

Life at Roman Caistor was thought to have ended in the 5th century AD, when Britain was abandoned by the Romans.

David Gurney, principal archaeologist of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, said: "This is a fantastic discovery, and it goes to show that Caistor Roman town still has a great number of secrets to be disclosed in the years ahead through surveys or excavations.

"The town is already well-established as the most important Roman site in northern East Anglia, but the presence of a theatre is a significant indicator of the town's status, and of the cultural facilities available to its inhabitants."



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