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Carlisle Castle excavation complete

A decade long excavation at Carlisle Castle has turned up 80,000 roman artifacts, including a rare piece of articulated armour and a nit comb with a louse still in it.

Experts say the city is now ranked as one of the most important settlements in the north of England.

Senior executive officer for Oxford Archaeology North, Rachel Newman, said: “The area was very damp 2,000 years ago, and therefore rare evidence survived for how the Romans and their medieval successors lived, in the form of the foundations for their timber buildings, as well as parts of Roman tents and saddles, their shoes, and wooden and leather possessions.

“Many thousands of objects were excavated, including less fragile material, such as pottery, metalwork, both jewellery and everyday utensils, coins, and stone objects.”

“All this evidence provided a wonderful glimpse into how people lived 2,000 years ago, and also in medieval Carlisle, more than 1,000 years later.

“For instance, several nit combs very like the ones we sometimes have to use today were found, one with a human louse in it!

“We could also see from the numbers of bones that the Romans liked beef, and particularly shoulders of meat, that had perhaps been salted or smoked.”

She said the evidence suggested that the Roman army arrived in Carlisle, living in tents to begin with, until the first fort was built.

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