Roman temple

Remains of Roman temple unearthed in Nottinghamshire

Archaeologists have found the remains of a Roman temple in a town in Nottinghamshire, UK, a discovery that experts say could re-write the history books.

According to a report in the website, a wall dating back as far as 43AD, made from large smooth-faced sandstone blocks, has been unearthed at the former Minster School site in Southwell in Nottinghamshire.

Twenty meters long by 2.5 meters tall, it is part of an emerging complex of buildings, including a Roman bathing monument known as a nymphaeum.

The site also contains what is believed to be a large villa.

“This is a monumental discovery. I have never seen Roman archaeology looking like that in Notts,” said Ursilla Spence, senior archaeological officer for Notts County Council. “It is starting to re-write our understanding of Notts in the Roman period,” she added.

“You don’t expect to see a wall of this masonry. It looks as if it could be a pagan Roman temple. Not only are they using these huge blocks, but they were using smooth faces. It is very much a grand building,” Spence explained.

“We certainly were not expecting anything like this. We had nothing to say it was there. To us, it is new and very exciting,” she added.

It is only the second Roman pagan temple to be discovered in Notts, the other was found in 1963 near to the site where the East Midlands Parkway Station is being built.

The Southwell find is significant because there is no evidence of a Roman settlement in the town.

According to Bryn Walters, director and secretary of the Association for Roman Archeology, “This could change the way the history of Southwell is looked at. It is interesting that there might be something else and has not been found yet.”

“If there is a temple, there is going to be something else not far away,” he added.

Walters said that the discovery of the temple could mean that what was thought to be a villa, previously discovered at the site, might be a lavish resting place for pilgrims.

“There may well be something of great importance there. It is potentially a very, very interesting site indeed. Potentially, Southwell is hiding a lot of information,” he said.

“We think it’s a whole complex. We have got most of the elements. I am expecting another structure to turn up this week,” said Spence.


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