Caistor Roman Town (Venta Icenorum)
What the project involves
Photograph of Dr David Bescoby carrying out geophysical survey at Caistor Roman Town. © Will Bowden.
The first phase of the project is scheduled to last until 2008, and will use a wide range of archaeological techniques including geophysical surveys, environmental archaeology, field surveys and small excavations.
Some of the techniques being used during this phase of the excavations are described below.
A draft project proposal for new archaeological research at Caistor St. Edmund can be viewed form the 'Downloads' section below.
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This uses scientific methods to see beneath the soil without excavating. It works particularly well on regularly planned Roman sites such as Venta Icenorum. The main instrument being used is a magnetometer, which measures changes in the earth’s magnetic field caused by past human activity.
This will be used to tell the extent to which Venta was accessible to sea-going vessels. Samples will be taken from a series of boreholes across the valley, which will determine how large the River Tas was in Roman times. Pollen and seeds from the past may also be found in the samples which could identify what plants, trees and crops were present.
This involves walking across the landscape and picking up and recording traces of human activity such as sherds of pottery. The project will use this technique to examine an area of approximately 100km2 around the town to see how the ancient landscape was used and occupied. All the information will be placed in a Geographical Information System (GIS) computer database, which will help with the analysis of settlement and land-use in all periods of history.
These will help us understand specific aspects of the town’s history and the results of earlier work at the site. Venta Icenorum is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and therefore any excavations at the site must be carefully planned and carried out, in order that the site can also be investigated by future generations.
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Last updated on: 18 February 2013