Roman 'industrial estate' unearthed
Published 25/08/2010 | 08:13
Archaeologists discovered a Roman "industrial estate" near ruins which may once have been home to a legendary missing legion.
The unearthed site includes the remains of a water-powered flour mill used to grind grain and produce food for the soldiers, clothes, food remains, graves and pottery.
It also contains evidence the Roman occupants might have worn socks, experts who analysed ancient sandals said.
The site was excavated as part of a £318 million Highways Agency scheme to upgrade the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire.
It is close to a ruined fort at Healam Bridge, which formed part of the Roman frontier 2,000 years ago.
It is thought the military outpost was used by the Roman Ninth Hispanic Legion, which disappeared some time in the 2nd Century AD.
Cultural heritage team leader Blaise Vyner said: "We know a lot about Roman forts, which have been extensively studied, but to excavate an industrial area with a mill is really exciting. We hope it can tell us more about how such military outposts catered for their needs, as self-sufficiency would have been important."
The industrial area comprised a series of large timber buildings, mostly on the north side of a beck, which powered the mill.
It would have supplied the fort with goods and provisions - probably processing meat and other food, as well as flour - and could also have developed into something of a settlement focus in its own right.
There is also an indication that the Roman occupants may have worn socks - rust on the nail from a Roman sandal appears to have impressions from fibres which could suggest that a sock-type garment was being worn.