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Archaeologists uncover remains of Roman road in Sedlescombe
8:00am Saturday 1st March 2014 in News
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of an ancient Roman road was part of a vast industrial iron-working complex that sprawled across The Weald.
Researchers from the Independent Historical Research Group (IHRG) were studying the site at the Pestalozzi International Village, a charity retreat in Sedlescombe, when they discovered the remnants of an ironworking site with giant slag pits.
David Staveley, IHRG Sedlescombe investigation leader, said: “The Weald of Sussex may seem leafy and pleasant today but in Roman times it used to be an industrial landscape.
“The Romans exploited the iron ore in the area, leaving it pock-marked with ore pits and felled trees.”
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The discovered road connects the Pestalozzi site to the known ironworks at Beaumont Park – adding it to the ever growing Roman road network.
The IHRGwill continue its investigations and begin excavations at the site, hoping to find a port complex beneath the trees beside the River Brede.
Robin Hodgkinson, IHRG member, said: “The underground radar won’t work beneath the trees but we expect the Classis Britannica – British Fleet – were involved and there may have been a port at the site for shipping the extracted iron.
“Private landowners were encouraged to move further north, that’s why you don’t find many villas in the area, and the whole Upper Weald was industrial.
“There was almost an iron rush.”
A nine-day dig at the site will start on May 4.
The IHRG was formed in 2006 to investigate a Romano- British iron production site near Ticehurst – an investigation that took four years and resulted in their appearance on BBC regional current affairs programme Inside Out.
The group has also helped Time Team in their recent investigation into the real location of the Battle of Hastings.
The Pestalozzi Village on the site provides educational opportunities for international students.
Pestalozzi’s chief executive Sue Walton said: “It is very exciting to think that theremay well have been a precedent for our multi-cultural and diverse community nearly 2,000 years ago, with the presence of a Classis Britannica site.”
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