Excavation of Carlisle Roman bathhouse to begin

An exciting heritage project that aims to unearth more of Carlisle’s Roman history has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £99,900.

We think it’s awesome, the project is made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the Uncovering Roman Carlisle project is an 18-month, programme of community archaeological investigation, exhibitions, and engagement exploring Carlisle’s Roman remains.

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The project will include a 28-day community excavation of a Roman bathhouse, discovered in 2017, on a site based within the grounds of Carlisle Cricket Club in Stanwix. The exavation will be undertaken by local volunteers, with supervision from professional archaeologists.

Stanwix is the site of the largest fort on Hadrian’s Wall, and finds from the 2017 excavation suggest Carlisle was, for a period of time, the centre of the Imperial court, and the Roman Empire. The remains are of international significance, being discovered on Hadrian’s Wall, part of the UNESCO Frontier of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.

The site provides the opportunity to uncover and develop a wider understanding of Roman Carlisle that is largely unknown in relation to other significant sites on Hadrian’s Wall.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will enable local residents to sign up as volunteers and a pop-up museum and Excavation Lab on site will provide interpretation for visitors featuring frequent dig and finds updates from the excavation.

The project is being led by a partnership of Carlisle City Council, Carlisle Cricket Club, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery and Wardell Armstrong.

Commenting on the award, Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr John Mallinson, said:

“We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and look forward to seeing more of Carlisle history come to life. This will be very much a community project and we’ll be asking for volunteers to sign up to take part in the archaeological dig. There will also be the opportunity for local schools to get involved too. We have a rich Roman history and we’re delighted that this funding will enable us to discover even more about Carlisle’s past.”

Michael Rayson, Chairman of Carlisle Cricket Club added:

“We are elated that the Roman archaeology site on our grounds is to be re visited. This will be a great fillip for the City of Carlisle and will see many people enjoying another community asset within Edenside again which over the last 16 months we have not been able to do. We thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their grant, to enable this to take place.”

A touring exhibition will visit six community venues, tying in with the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall.

Anna Smalley, Head of Collections & Engagement from Tullie House said:

“We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic project, which will bring so much excitement and interest to our city over the summer and beyond. We are looking forward to playing our role in leading family and community engagement opportunities throughout the excavation, as well as developing the touring exhibition which will open at Tullie House in March and tour from June 2022.”

Chloe Brownlee-Chapman, Regional Director from Wardell Armstrong added:

“Our Carlisle based Archaeology and Heritage team, and our wider firm are really thrilled to have developed this bid alongside our project partners. This excavation will engage the people of Carlisle in learning more about our shared Roman heritage, by getting into the ground and being hands on with the incredible archaeology of our city, with our professional Archaeologists working alongside the public”

The planned excavation will take place beginning this August through to the end of September. Volunteering opportunities are available for residents in and around Carlisle. You can find out more details on volunteering opportunities and to get involved visit www.tulliehouse.co.uk/urc



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