Carlisle Roman bathhouse excavation unearths Roman Imperial tiles

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Image source, Dr Dot Boughton
Image caption,
Archaeologists say the IMP stands for imperator, Latin for emperor

The excavation of a Roman bathhouse at Carlisle Cricket Club has unearthed a connection between the site and a third century Roman emperor.

Tiles with a Roman imperial stamp were uncovered by archaeologists and volunteers which indicate a link to Septimius Severus.

Lead archaeologist, Frank Giecco, said the "evidence is building up" of "something really special" in the area.

Other finds include Samian ware pottery and an iron signet ring.

"The Romans would quite often stamp their tiles. The legions would stamp tiles, the auxiliaries would stamp tiles; but this is the very top of the pile.

"This is the imperial court stamping the tile. There have been a handful found in Carlisle at random places. We have probably got a dozen now from this site and it looks like this is where they are coming from.

"It's not a legion or anyone else - this is the signature of the emperor. I can't say that Septimius Severus ever set foot in Carlisle. Who knows. All we can say is that we have got a huge, monumental building that has been built in Carlisle.

"The emperor was in Britain at that time, we've got an inscription from his wife in the building and we have got his personal workshop-stamped tiles coming from the building," Mr Giecco added.

Image source, Stuart Walker Photography
Image caption,
A silver ring with a twisted band, Samian ware pottery and an animal paw print Roman tile have also been discovered

Dr Dot Boughton from Tullie House museum, said the tilery effectively says they are "supplying tiles fit for the emperor" or "on the emperor's demands".

A substantial collection of these tiles, potentially a uniquely large amount for a site in England, have been discovered at the site, she added.

The Uncovering Roman Carlisle project, which is supported by a £99,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund, is an 18-month long programme exploring Carlisle's Roman remains.

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