Archaeologists have discovered a rare Roman stately home in Scarborough, which could be the first of its kind to ever be discovered.
The remains of the settlement were discovered by Keepmoat Homes, who were hoping to build a housing estate of new builds in the Eastfield area of the North Yorkshire town. But the importance of the find may well have caused a headache for bosses of the firm, with Historic England saying it’s ‘easily the most important’ discovery of its kind.
Historians believe they’ve identified a whole complex of buildings. It includes a tower-shaped structure, which is thought to have had rooms and a bathhouse leading from it.
They are continuing to study the site, but so far it’s thought it would have been built by a wealthy landowner and could have become a religious building, a ‘stately home cum – gentleman’s club’, or even a combination of both.
Keith Emerick, inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, said: ‘One of the descriptions we had was that it is something like a religious building that is almost like a gentleman’s club, there’s a bath house as well. So it’s a really interesting hybrid building at the moment.’
These archaeological remains are a fantastic find and are far more than we ever dreamed of discovering at this site. They are already giving us a better knowledge and understanding of Roman Britain.
We are grateful to Keepmoat Homes for their sensitive and professional approach to helping ensure the future conservation of this important historical site.
Emerick told The Guardian: ‘It’s not like a jigsaw, where each new discovery adds to the picture, each new discovery actually gives a twist to the kaleidoscope and changes the picture entirely. This is a really exciting discovery and definitely of national importance.’
Not only is it a first for Britain, but it could also be a first for the whole of the former Roman Empire.
Emerick added: ‘I would say this is one of the most important Roman discoveries in the past decade, actually. Easily.’
Keepmoat Homes has changed the initial plans and will not build on top of the site, but will still build in the area.
Historic England hopes the remains will be accessible to the public in future.