Almost 500 people braved the snow to visit the Northwest Cambridge Site’s extensive archaeological remains during an open day last month.
A 14ha excavation by Cambridge Archaeological Unit has revealed Roman activity spanning four centuries, as well as archaeological features stretching back to the Middle Bronze Age (c.1500 BC), suggesting that the rolling green farmland northwest of Cambridge was once crowded with bustling Roman settlements and industry.
CAU’s ‘Roman Street Party’ on 23 March – a free event held as part of the University of Cambridge’s Science Festival – offered members of the public the opportunity to see the finds for themselves.
As well as site tours, CAU had recreated a Roman street scene with the help of the Roman Military Research Society to give hands-on insights into domestic life, including a working Roman kitchen and a cobbler to demonstrate trade and production. Visitors could also take part in Roman games and religious activities and examine some of the artefacts unearthed during the investigation.
‘446 people came through the gates – a large number considering the snow and the fact that there was no parking within a 15 minute walk,’ said CAU’s Hayley Roberts, who managed outreach for the project. ‘At several points during site tours people were give the opportunity to turn back to our heated marquee, but the thirst to see more remained strong. The fact that so many people braved the elements demonstrates the strong appeal of archaeology and the potential that it has to allow developers to engage with local residents.’
Making shoes and leather objects
Learning about Roman religion
Learning about animal bone
Site tours in the snow
Future archaeologists in the making
Eating warm stew in the Roman kitchen
Learning to weave
Weather-proofed guided tours