Devon

Roman fort discovered under Exeter bus station development

Roman fort Image copyright Exeter City Council
Image caption Experts said the ditches belonged to a new and unknown Roman military site

A Roman fort has been discovered under a city centre bus station development.

Prof Stephen Rippon said the discovery in Exeter was "very exciting" and raised questions as to where the rest of the fort was in the city.

Archaeologists working on the development site of Exeter's bus station discovered the remains of Roman defences last week.

The find was described by Andrew Pye, of Exeter City Council, as "very important and completely unexpected".

The council has confirmed the archaeology work will not impact the construction timetable.

Image copyright Exeter City Council
Image caption Exeter City Council's former Archaeological Field Unit created an artist impression of what the fort might look like

Prof Rippon, from Exeter University, said it was a "complete surprise" and "there was no evidence known of it at all".

He predicted the site was probably used for ancillary activities and said parallels could be drawn between the discovery and other Roman defended compounds also found in Exeter.

However, the professor of landscape archaeology said it would be hard to make an exact prediction as to how big the fort was or where the rest of it would be.

"This shows why it's so important that archaeology excavations take place," he added.

Cotswold Archaeology, which made the discovery, is working with Kier Construction to record the city's history ahead of the construction of a new bus station on the site.

Image copyright Exeter City Council
Image caption The findings at the site include coins and local pottery

Findings at the site include coins and local pottery, plus fine red Samian tableware imported from France.

A Roman ditch was uncovered first at the top end of the site between Bampfylde Street and Cheeke Street and further excavation revealed two large Roman ditches running parallel to each other.

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