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14 September 2010
University archaeologists excavating at the Roman Fortress in Caerleon, South Wales have discovered what they believe is a complete suit of Roman armour.
The team, which includes staff and students from Cardiff and University College London (UCL) made the discovery in their penultimate week of excavations at the site.
Speaking about the find, Dr Peter Guest, from the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion who is leading the dig said it was "extremely rare" and "really special."
"It’s taken six days to uncover the armour," said Dr Guest "and it appears that we have found a complete set, albeit in various pieces. At the moment it’s scattered around and we’ve covered the area with a large white tent to preserve the artefacts.
"Along with the armour, we’ve also found traces of textiles, a helmet – which could have been a parade helmet – other military equipment and what look like ornaments or fittings off a coffin or funeral casket.
"There’s now a very complex and interesting process underway involving conservators to try and reconstruct the armour and carefully remove it from the site."
The discovery is the latest in a series of major finds at the fortress by University archaeologists who have been working at the site for the last four years. Earlier this year, a group of students from the School located a complex of monumental buildings outside the fortress which is likely to lead to a complete rethink of how Britain was conquered and occupied by the Roman army almost 2,000 years ago.
In past excavations, staff and students have helped uncover eight previously unknown barrack blocks, three large granaries, a monumental metal workshop and a very large store building. On several occasions, members of the public have also helped with the dig.
The current excavations run until Friday 17 September and guided tours of the site are available twice daily (11 am and 2.30 pm, except Mondays). To follow the fortunes of the archaeologists at Caerleon log on to the Dig Blog at: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/caf/wikka.php?wakka=CaerleonLegionaryFortress
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