Newly unearthed Roman remains 'could be used as foundations for new homes' in Winchester

Newly unearthed Roman remains 'could be used as foundations for new homes'

Newly unearthed Roman remains 'could be used as foundations for new homes'

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

IT'S nearly 2,000 years old and for hundreds of years it shielded residents from invading barbarians.

So last November, when archaeologists unearthed the remains of a Roman wall in the heart of Winchester, plans for 14 new homes were put on ice to allow for excavation of the site.

Now it has emerged that the ancient piece of history could be smashed up and used as filler for the foundations of the new houses.

Local historians are outraged at the destruction of the remains, which were once part of the Roman South Gate that protected the city, and from which Southgate Street takes its name.

Ian Hamer, an amateur historian, said: “When we were toured the site, we were told that the whole wall will probably get destroyed. It will be completely lost.

“There was a collective howl from the archaeology people there. There seems to be general agreement that this will be a bit of an act of vandalism.”

Winchester City Council confirmed a medieval ditch will be preserved, but added that preservation of part of the surviving remains of the city wall within the site was “not possible”.

In 1971 an excavation on the other side of the road revealed the remains of a Roman bastion.

Professor Martin Biddle, a world-renowned archaeologist who carried out that work, has told the Daily Echo he was unhappy that the destruction of the wall would go ahead without a complete excavation to test for a bastion.

Following Daily Echo enquiries, Prof Biddle said yesterday he understood excavations would now continue.

He said: “The problem is being addressed as a matter of urgency and I am now happy this is so.

“If there was a bastion, it would be of great historical significance. Huge catapults were placed on them and used to bombard attackers as they approached the city.”

Angus Cook, managing director at developers Bargate, said his archaeological consultants would not be commenting on the question of a bastion, but said a report on the excavation would be made public 'in the near future.'

He said: “It would not be physically possible to preserve the wall. The building opens out on to street level and the remains of the wall are very close to the surface.”

He said students and local history groups had been invited to tour the site.

“If people have any issues with the investigations, they should go to Winchester City Council and see how they reply to that because as far as we're concerned, everything has been done properly.”

Asked whether the wall would be broken up for rubble, he declined to comment.

Comments (17)

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7:44am Thu 13 Mar 14

loosehead says...

For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer? loosehead
  • Score: 20

8:11am Thu 13 Mar 14

Higginz says...

Qui dormitis in ossibus meis
Qui dormitis in ossibus meis Higginz
  • Score: 6

8:11am Thu 13 Mar 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Bit ironic that the name of the developers is..Bargate !
Why couldn't it just be dismantled,and rebuilt on another site anyway?
Bit ironic that the name of the developers is..Bargate ! Why couldn't it just be dismantled,and rebuilt on another site anyway? Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 3

8:57am Thu 13 Mar 14

Dai Rear says...

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
They paved paradise And put up a parking lot With a pink hotel, a boutique And a swinging hot spot They took all the trees And put them in a tree museum And they charged all the people A dollar and a half to see 'em Dai Rear
  • Score: 14

11:58am Thu 13 Mar 14

RomseyKeith says...

It's unsurprising. They stand to make too much money from the homes. there are too many 'under the counter' deals, and big briefcases full of money handed over to councillors in order to build small homes, and charge a fortune for them, letting all the wildlife, history, and everything else simply die.
When I read the headline I thought the remains of Roman soldiers were being used to build the foundations. Houses built on Indian burial grounds often have interesting stories. I wonder if the same will be the case for Roman ones. (I'm kidding)
It's unsurprising. They stand to make too much money from the homes. there are too many 'under the counter' deals, and big briefcases full of money handed over to councillors in order to build small homes, and charge a fortune for them, letting all the wildlife, history, and everything else simply die. When I read the headline I thought the remains of Roman soldiers were being used to build the foundations. Houses built on Indian burial grounds often have interesting stories. I wonder if the same will be the case for Roman ones. (I'm kidding) RomseyKeith
  • Score: 5

12:00pm Thu 13 Mar 14

skeptik says...

Dear old Venta Belgarum grew up there 1950s.
Dear old Venta Belgarum grew up there 1950s. skeptik
  • Score: 1

12:10pm Thu 13 Mar 14

eurogordi says...

Why not preserve the Roman foundations and build the new homes over the archaeology? It is possible and there are places in Southampton and Dorchester where this has previously happened ... oh, wait .. that was in the sixties and seventies so technological advances probably mean it couldn't be done in the 21st century!!
Why not preserve the Roman foundations and build the new homes over the archaeology? It is possible and there are places in Southampton and Dorchester where this has previously happened ... oh, wait .. that was in the sixties and seventies so technological advances probably mean it couldn't be done in the 21st century!! eurogordi
  • Score: 8

12:55pm Thu 13 Mar 14

SteveinTotton says...

Simple change the design to preserve this wall. Costs money you say, oh dear lets just destroy it then .
Simple change the design to preserve this wall. Costs money you say, oh dear lets just destroy it then . SteveinTotton
  • Score: 1

12:58pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Huey says...

loosehead wrote:
For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with.
Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?[/p][/quote]Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen. Huey
  • Score: -3

1:15pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Jamie Hankins says...

Huey wrote:
loosehead wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.
Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?[/p][/quote]Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.[/p][/quote]Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history. Jamie Hankins
  • Score: 3

3:20pm Thu 13 Mar 14

loosehead says...

Jamie Hankins wrote:
Huey wrote:
loosehead wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.
Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.
okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester.
This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance.
If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city?
[quote][p][bold]Jamie Hankins[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?[/p][/quote]Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.[/p][/quote]Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.[/p][/quote]okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester. This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance. If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city? loosehead
  • Score: 4

3:20pm Thu 13 Mar 14

loosehead says...

Jamie Hankins wrote:
Huey wrote:
loosehead wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.
Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.
okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester.
This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance.
If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city?
[quote][p][bold]Jamie Hankins[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?[/p][/quote]Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.[/p][/quote]Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.[/p][/quote]okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester. This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance. If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city? loosehead
  • Score: -2

3:20pm Thu 13 Mar 14

loosehead says...

Jamie Hankins wrote:
Huey wrote:
loosehead wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?
Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.
Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.
okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester.
This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance.
If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city?
[quote][p][bold]Jamie Hankins[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: For a city that depends on tourism I'd have thought preserving this wall as a tourist attraction would have been a no brainer?[/p][/quote]Who the heck wants to look at a bit of old wall, of which the Romans built loads. Winchester has enough old walls and buildings for the tourists to be getting on with. Even the archaeologist are not really suggesting that, they just want the site properly excavated first, which it sounds like is now going to happen.[/p][/quote]Sure, we've got enough history and culture, why bother with any more? I hate walking around a city and discovering random bits of little history.[/p][/quote]okay knock down all the historic buildings,walls & while your at it the Cathedral then see how many jobs will be lost in Winchester. This is a wall that's thousands of years old & people from all over the world go to Winchester to see it's historical past if you don't think this wall matters your crazy as this helps to cement your status as a city of historical significance. If every site was built over to put flats up exactly what would attract tourists to your city? loosehead
  • Score: -1

5:53pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Huey says...

Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made.
You can't live in the past forever.
Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall.
Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks.
In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything.
It never used to be this busy.
Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made. You can't live in the past forever. Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall. Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks. In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything. It never used to be this busy. Huey
  • Score: -6

9:27pm Thu 13 Mar 14

loosehead says...

Huey wrote:
Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made.
You can't live in the past forever.
Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall.
Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks.
In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything.
It never used to be this busy.
weren't you also saying Southampton could do with less cruise ships so it would be easier to drive around?
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made. You can't live in the past forever. Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall. Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks. In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything. It never used to be this busy.[/p][/quote]weren't you also saying Southampton could do with less cruise ships so it would be easier to drive around? loosehead
  • Score: 1

5:37am Fri 14 Mar 14

skeptik says...

Winchester never used to be this busy on the high street? Bunkum - when it was still open to traffic cars went through the Westgate not around it. Never is a long time.
Winchester never used to be this busy on the high street? Bunkum - when it was still open to traffic cars went through the Westgate not around it. Never is a long time. skeptik
  • Score: 1

6:28am Fri 14 Mar 14

Huey says...

loosehead wrote:
Huey wrote:
Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made.
You can't live in the past forever.
Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall.
Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks.
In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything.
It never used to be this busy.
weren't you also saying Southampton could do with less cruise ships so it would be easier to drive around?
Yes, it can't cope. Saturation point yet again. Greedy people chasing the buck make the city suffer. Progress doesn't just mean more tourists and more money. Quality of life for residents should be paramount.
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Whatever common sense has prevailed and progress shall now be made. You can't live in the past forever. Modern Winchester needs housing and a decent traffic system far more than yet another bit of old wall. Think about the residents, it isn't just about the tourist bucks. In fact we could do with a few less tourists in summer, it is hard to even move up the high street. There is a saturation point for everything. It never used to be this busy.[/p][/quote]weren't you also saying Southampton could do with less cruise ships so it would be easier to drive around?[/p][/quote]Yes, it can't cope. Saturation point yet again. Greedy people chasing the buck make the city suffer. Progress doesn't just mean more tourists and more money. Quality of life for residents should be paramount. Huey
  • Score: -3

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