Roman excavation at ‘human bones’ find property in Swinton

Andrew Allen at the spot where he found bones in his garden.
Andrew Allen at the spot where he found bones in his garden.

A gardener who thought he had discovered human bones in his yard has given archaeologists permission to dig after another interesting find.

Andrew Allen, 30, believed he had made an unnerving discovery shortly after moving into his Swinton home earlier this year.

Shards of Roman pottery found in Swinton.

Shards of Roman pottery found in Swinton.

Tests revealed the bones actually came from a cow, but he has recently found up 90 pieces of Roman-era pottery while digging up his garden.

Archaeologists now believe the property in Toll Bar Road could be sitting on a key Roman-era farming settlement and are set to carryout a full excavation.

Project leader Dr Lauren McIntyre, of Wath-based Elmet Archaeological Services, said: “The South Yorkshire region is generally overlooked in terms of Roman history. But Andrew’s finds suggest the presence of a previously undiscovered archaeological site.

“He has found approximately 90 fragments of pottery, including high status wares such as samien, traditional cooking wares and rusticated pottery, as well as possible glass and metal working waste products.

“The working theory at the moment is that it could be on an old farming settlement. We will hopefully find out more when we dig.”

Mr Allen, 30, a teaching assistant, said: “I found a vast array of different pieces of pottery. I’m excited to find out what might be found under there. There could be lots more pieces of pottery and other things.”

A full-scale five day excavation of the site is set to begin on October 6 – so long as the public comes forward to raise the £3,500 cost.

Already more than £1, 400 has been contributed by about 50 supporters.

Those who donate will be entitled to rewards, including daily email updates on how the project is progressing.

People who give at least £70 will be invited to grab a trowel and join in the excavations.

Dr McIntyre said: “We are eager to get moving with the project and if we applied for grants it would take months. This is a great way to get the community involved.”

Once completed, project leaders hope to put their discoveries on display, possibly at Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham, for the public to view.

Dig places are for people aged 16 and over.

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