(ORDO NEWS) — British archaeologists have unearthed a Roman sanctuary in the center of the country, built over a spring that people worshiped four thousand years ago.
During rescue archaeological work before the construction of a new residential complex in the countryside of Northamptonshire (Central England), scientists discovered the remains of a Roman building.
They managed to identify two rooms, one of which has a staircase. The premises were once decorated with painted plaster.
At first glance, there is nothing surprising in the discovery of a Roman building in Central England.
The Romans, who came to Britain in 43 AD and left the island in 410, actively developed the province according to their ideas of a comfortable life.
Archaeologists suggest that the building could be a sanctuary, which the Romans set up in great numbers on British soil.
The unusual thing about this structure is that it has an underground part, but not a basement, but rather a water reservoir.
From this, the researchers concluded that the center of the sanctuary – and the object of worship – was a nearby natural source, a spring.
Without written sources, it is difficult to say why people revered as sacred this particular spring, one of many in Central England.
He could be worshiped as a symbol of a deity or attributed healing or mystical properties.
The building around was built so that visitors could not only touch the water, but also leave votive offerings, including coins and other artifacts.
At the bottom of the tanks, archaeologists have found organic remains dating back about two thousand years: these are willow flowers, pine seeds, walnut shells and even one leather shoe.
And nearby they found a whole collection of fragments of ceramics.
The question arises: why is it necessary to arrange rather large water tanks near the sanctuary?
The researchers suggest that the water from the source was accumulated and, if necessary, used in completely non-sacred activities – for example, for irrigating fields or supplying residents with drinking water.
The Roman sanctuary is not the only find in the area. Almost close to the foundation, archaeologists unearthed a Bronze Age barrow. Preliminary dating – 2000-1500 BC.
The excavated part is most likely only a fragment of a wider burial landscape. But it looks extremely non-standard: archaeologists found out that the mound does not contain human remains, only five empty burial urns.
According to the researchers, the absence of human remains in the burial chambers testifies to the symbolic, and not the functional purpose of the mound.
In principle, such practices – empty “burials” – are not so rare: it is enough to recall the cenotaphs arranged since the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.
But the whole burial complex is not a separate conditional monument in honor of one person.
Archaeologists suggested that the mounds, part of which they unearthed, were some kind of ritual complex, and the same source of water acted as its center (later it attracted the Romans).
Scholars also consider it likely that this landscape was already a highly significant site for older local communities.
And such pre-existing associations made people in the Bronze Age choose this place for the construction of a ritual monument.
On the territory of Northamptonshire, evidence of the life of people in the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic has already been found.
Around 500 BC, carriers of the Hallstatt culture (it is associated with the Celts) came to this area from the continent.
And in the 1st century BC, a fertile and climatically pleasant territory was secured by the Catuvellauns (one of the Belg tribes ).
In 43, the Romans subjugated the local tribes, built a major road and a number of settlements along it. And all these nations may have worshiped the same little spring of water.
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