The city’s Tullie House Museum has finally been reunited with the 80,000 artefacts uncovered during the Millennium project, and the archaeologists behind it are on the brink of publishing their 500-page report.
John Zant, of Oxford Archaeology North, is one of the team who spent years painstakingly cataloguing, conserving and assessing the finds, compared at the time to those of the Vikings in York. He was involved in the dig on the Castle Green in 2000 and said those involved always knew they were going to find “extremely important material”.
The first report detailing the sequence of the Roman occupation on the fort underneath the Castle has already been published, and the second is ‘within weeks’ of revealing details of the artefacts found and what they show about Roman life in Carlisle.
“The Millennium dig was such an important investigation,” Mr Zant said. “It was one of the most significant excavations in north England with many different elements of national, even international, significance.”
He said the report was not just about the artefacts themselves but how they built up a broader picture of the conditions and life at the fort.
“It’s not just the coins and armour, the seeds and insect remains can tell us a lot about the environment,” he said.
“They can give us an idea of what conditions were like. Was it wet? Boggy? Insects live in particular types of environments so the ones we find on site can tell us a bit about the climate and conditions.
“The plant remains give us an insight into what was being grown and eaten.”