The remains of a Roman theatre, thought to be the first of its kind to be unearthed in Britain, have been found near the Kent town of Faversham. The structure was discovered by a team from Kent Archaeological Field School (KAFS) following five years of investigations, and features what is believed to have been an orchestra pit, a narrow stage area and 50 rows of seats covering an area of 65 metres in diameter.
Paul Wilkinson, the school’s director, said: “This is important for Roman archaeology because this is the first theatre of its type found in Britain. We haven’t even begun to touch on the amount of archaeology which is there.”
Saxon brooch uncovered in Northamptonshire
London Underground marks 150th anniversary
The 150th anniversary of the London Underground is being marked with a series of exhibitions and events. The first stretch of the Tube network, then known as the Metropolitan Railway, opened on 9 January 1863 and is the oldest section of underground railway in the world, carrying an estimated 26,000 passengers every day in the first six months of operation. A set of ten stamps has also been released marking the anniversary, featuring reproductions of contemporary lithographs and posters.
‘Ancient’ remains discovered in Middleton Cheney
Human remains unearthed on a building site in Northamptonshire date from between the Roman and post-medieval period, according to archaeologists. The bones, which are thought to be those of a man aged between 35 and 45, a woman older than 45 and a child younger than two years old, were found in a single grave whose alignment suggests a Christian-style burial.
Burma Spitfire hunters locate crate
Researchers attempting to find Spitfire thought to have been buried in Burma at the end of the Second World War have located a crate that may contain one of the planes. The team, led by aviation enthusiast David Cundall and assisted by the geophysicists from the University of Leeds, lowered a camera into the crate in the Kachin state capital of Myitkyina but were prevented from seeing its contents due to muddy water.
Further excavations are set to take place elsewhere in Burma in the coming months, with the researchers hoping to find up to 120 aircraft. The practice of buring supplies and equipment was commonplace at the end of the war, Cundall argues, with research suggesting that US engineers interred them when they were no longer needed.
Church survey documents medieval graffiti
Graffiti thought to be more than 500 years old has been discovered on medieval churches around Norfolk. The drawings, which have been identified by the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey, were made on buildings including Binham Priory in the north of the county and feature designs including a sailing ship, spiral patterns and a demon-like figure (pictured above).
Whitby graveyard at risk from subsidence
A graveyard used by author Bram Stoker as the setting for a scene in his 1897 novel Dracula is a risk from subsidence following recent bad weather. The landslips, which revealed bones around St Mary’s Church in Whitby, also affected a row of cottages which were demolished before Christmas.
Britain’s oldest man dies, aged 110
A man recorded to be the oldest in Britain has died at the age of 110. Reg Dean, who was born in Tunstall in Staffordshire on 4 November 1902, died at his home in Derbyshire on 5 January. Dean was ordained in the Church of England and served as an army captain in Burma during the Second World War, before going on to work as a teacher. He is succeeded to the title of the UK’s most aged by Sheffield resident Ralph Tarrant, who is 109.
Image credits: London Transport Museum (underground); Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey (graffiti)