Archaeologists believe they have unearthed the ‘forgotten frontier of the Roman Empire’ – right here in Sheffield.
Amateur and professional archaeologists have been excavating a site at Whirlow Hall Farm after being granted £59,000 in Heritage Lottery Funding.
So far they have recovered pottery and tools and the foundations of an ancient farmstead, dating back to the Iron Age and Roman times.
Lead archaeologist Clive Waddington said he believed the farm had initially been occupied by Iron Age people.
But as the Romans pushed north in the first century, Clive said they would have moved the indigenous people off the site and rebuilt it.
He said: “We think we have discovered the forgotten frontier of the Roman Empire – this is a very important site.
“We believe that as the Romans pushed north they would have occupied these Iron Age farm steads like this.”
Clive said that he believed the site was a pivotal link between other nearby Roman sites, such as Brough, Hope Valley and Templeborough, which is underneath the Magna Centre.
He said: “We suspect that this farmstead could have been given to a veteran in the Roman army, as it’s unusual for them to knock Iron age buildings down.”
Linda Williamson, of The Time Travellers, a Sheffield-based group of volunteer amateur archaeologists, said the site’s importance was first discovered five years ago.
She said: “Whirlow Hall Farm did an investigation as they wanted to do a history timeline for children visiting.
“I don’t think they anticipated what they were going to find, though.
“That’s when we got involved and we have been wanting to excavate this site again for such a long time.
“We are really grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for allowing us the opportunity to get at it again.”
Approximately 70 volunteers, accompanied by trained archaeologists, have been working on the excavation, which will finish on July 8.
Visitors can go and see what’s happening. Visit www.whirlowhallfarm.org