Roman temple unearthed in Notts
THE remains of a Roman temple have been found in Notts – and experts say it could re-write the history books.
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.
A Roman temple
Twenty metres long by 2.5 metres 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.
Ursilla Spence, senior archaeological officer for Notts County Council, says the find is one of the most exciting in her 25-year career.
She said: "This is a monumental discovery. I have never seen Roman archaeology looking like that in Notts.
"It is starting to re-write our understanding of Notts in the Roman period.
"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.
"We certainly were not expecting anything like this.
"We had nothing to say it was there. To us it is new and very exciting."
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.
Bryn Walters, director and secretary of the Association for Roman Archeology, described the news as "very, very interesting".
He said: "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 said 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.
He said: "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."
Mrs Spence added: "We think it's a whole complex. We have got most of the elements. I am expecting another structure to turn up this week."