Keynsham (G-B): Roman temple excavation under way

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84392125 keynshammosaic 5During the early 1920s elaborate mosaic floors like this were found by workmen cutting new graves

Fresh excavation work has begun at Keynsham cemetery, near Bristol, on the site of a possible Roman temple.

In 1877 substantial remains of a large Roman building were uncovered by workers building mortuary chapels.

Archaeologists have spent two years conducting geophysical surveys in part of the old Victorian burial ground.

They believe they have located part of a religious healing sanctuary which could be connected to the recently identified Roman town of Trajectus.

A broad trench has been dug across part of a Roman building identified in the recent geophysical surveys.

Bryn Walters, Director of the Association for Roman Archaeology said he is "optimistic that the newly located remains will be prove to be a detached temple fronting the great villa building".

84404628 84404620Artist's drawing of the villa and grounds

The cemetery was first officially excavated by Arthur Bulleid and Ethelbert Horne, members of the Society of Antiquaries of London, between 1922 and 1924 after more remains and mosaic floors were found while graves were being dug.

The work revealed a building positioned around the largest court of any rural Roman structure in the UK and embellished with exotically designed rooms at either end of its main west wing.

Mosaic panels recovered from the elaborate south-west corner are on permanent public day in the new Keynsham Civic Centre.

84404625 84404624Mosaics were found when graves were being dug up