LONG-FORGOTTEN secrets of Ribchester’s Roman fort could be unearthed in a major dig this year.

The village’s museum, which celebrated its centenary in 2014, will join forces with the University of Central Lancashire for the excavation at the end of June.

The earliest Roman fort in Ribchester was established in the early 70s AD as part of a network of defences across northern Britannia.


Originally of turf and timber construction, the fort was rebuilt in stone in the first century.

The dig is scheduled to last for a month. Another dig on the same site is planned for 2016.

The long-term project comes after the Ribchester Helmet returned home for the first time in more than 200 years in July.

The ancient artefact was loaned by the British Museum which acquired it in 1814 after its discovery in 1796.

Lancashire Telegraph:

RECONSTRUCTION: How the fort looked in Roman times

The helmet is decorated with a scene of a skirmish between infantry and cavalry — and its presence at the Riverside museum saw visitor numbers double.

Curator Patrick Tostevin said: “This is a very exciting project for the museum and it is something that we have wanted to do for some time.

“Details are still under wraps about the dig but I can say that it will take place somewhere inside the fort.

“We hope to learn a lot more abut the village and the fort over the next two years and I hope that the dig is productive and successful.

“The last 12 months have been very satisfying for the museum. Seeing the helmet return home after such a long absence was the highlight.

“It had a huge impact on our visitor figures and raised the profile of the museum and the work that we do here.

“More people now know what we do in the museum and behind the scenes, which is great.”

The fort accommodated a garrison of cavalry troops whose purpose was to patrol the surrounding area and keep the local inhabitants under control.

The fort at Ribchester was occupied into the fourth century, although archaeological evidence points to there being little activity in the area around after the second century.