ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECT UNCOVERS ROMAN ENGRAVED GEMS NEAR HADRIAN’S WALL
The Uncovering Roman Carlisle project has been conducting a community supported excavation at the Carlisle Cricket Club, where the team have been excavating a Roman bath house after its initial discovery in 2017 by archaeologists from Wardell Armstrong.
The bath house is located near the Roman fort of Uxelodunum (meaning "high fort"), also known as Petriana, in the Carlisle district of Stanwix. Uxelodunum was constructed to control the territories west of present-day Carlisle and the vital crossing at the River Eden.
It was located behind the Hadrianic barrier, with the Wall forming its northern defences and its long axis parallel to the Wall. The fort was garrisoned by the Ala Petriana, a 1,000-strong cavalry unit, whose members were all granted Roman citizenship for valour on the field.
The engraved gems known as intaglios date from the late 2nd century or 3rd century AD, which includes an amethyst depicting Venus holding a flower or a mirror, and a red-brown jasper featuring a satyr.
Excavations also found more than 40 women's hairpins, 35 glass beads, a clay Venus figure, animal bones, and imperial-stamped tiles - suggesting that the bathhouse was a monumental construction used by not just the garrison of Uxelodunum, but Roman elite living near near the fort and the fort of Luguvalium, located a short distance away now beneath Carlisle Castle.