A community archaeology project aims to reveal new secrets about the vast Roman barrack buildings buried under Deanery Field north of Chester Cathedral.
‘Waking the Legions’ will explore the area situated within the north east corner of the historic city walls.
The site was once home to the vast barrack blocks which housed the Roman soldiers of the fortress of Deva, the largest Roman fortress in Britain.
Excavations in the 1920s and 1930s revealed Roman barrack blocks and associated buildings but less than a quarter of the site was uncovered. This new project aims to explore the rest of the site without physically disturbing the archaeology, with Magnetic Survey, plus ground penetrating radar being used to see beneath the soil.
It is thought that it’s the first time the technology has been used within the city walls.
The project is being managed by city-based heritage company Big Heritage, who have been behind a resurgence in public heritage initiatives in the city over the last two years, including Dig Blacon, a community dig in Blacon, the award-winning Chester Unlocked project and a new museum about medicine throughout the ages set to launch this summer in the 14th century Water Tower.
Dr Joanne Kirton, project manager at Big Heritage, said: “This is an incredibly exciting project that uses technology to give us a deeper understanding into the buried archaeology underneath Deanery Field. Most importantly for us, this is about the wider community actively participating and engaging in the city’s heritage, and we are inviting local people to sign up to take part in the actual survey.
“It is a great city partnership between Big Heritage, Chester Cathedral and the Grosvenor Museum.”
The event is being further enhanced with an exhibition on the original Deanery Field excavations, which will be based in the King Charles Tower on the city walls. It will include rare Roman finds from the 1930s excavations, kindly loaned by the Grosvenor Museum.
Liz Royles, collections officer at the Grosvenor Museum, said: “We are very excited to be partnering up again with Big Heritage for the Waking the Legions project. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to check our existing information, find out lots more and share our collections with a wider audience.”
The project will form part of the Festival of Archaeology 2016, and has received support and funding from the Association of Roman Archaeology, and the Mick Aston Memorial Fund, set up in the memory of the late Time Team archaeologist.
For more information, visit the Big Heritage website or email firstname.lastname@example.org