Historians will painstakingly rebuild a 2,000-year-old Romano-Celtic temple found under a building site in Kent to stop it being destroyed by developers

  • Builders clearing a plot of land for a housing project unearthed the lost town 
  • Initial plans were to rebury the findings for development at a later date 
  • Historians have vowed to recreate the site in a bid to save it from destruction

Historians in Kent have vowed to painstakingly rebuild a 2,000-year-old temple in a bid to save it from destruction by developers.

The Romano-Celtic temple was set to be reburied just months after it was unearthed by archaeologists in April. 

Developers were preparing a patch of land next to a major road in Newington, Kent for a housing project when they discovered the lost town.

It was inhabited by Romans when they arrived in Britain in 43AD but it is though to pre-date this. 

The 18-acre site was in exceptional condition and has been hailed as one of the most significant finds in regional archaeological history.

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Builders preparing a patch of land next to a major road in Newington, Kent for an upcoming housing project discovered the lost town dating back to at least 43AD

Builders preparing a patch of land next to a major road in Newington, Kent for an upcoming housing project discovered the lost town dating back to at least 43AD

Historians in Kent have vowed to rebuild a 2,000-year-old temple in a bid to save it from destruction by developers after initial plans meant it would be reburied

Historians in Kent have vowed to rebuild a 2,000-year-old temple in a bid to save it from destruction by developers after initial plans meant it would be reburied 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE  NEWINGTON ROMAN TOWN?

Experts have hailed the discovery as one of the most significant finds in the region. 

One expert said it is one of Kent’s most significant finds. 

An 18-acre settlement was uncovered alongside pottery, coins and a stretch of ancient road.  

The site includes remains of a place of worship which has since been named Watling Temple – making it one of only 150 sites recorded in England. 

The temple at the site, close to what is now the A2, has since been named Watling Temple – making it one of only 150 such sites in England.

Archaeologists also uncovered an ancient 23 foot (7 metre) wide road which ran from London to the Kent coast. 

Rare coins, several tons of pots and jewellery dating back as early as 30BC were found at the Persimmon Homes development which sits next to a major road near Sittingbourne.

Ancient stones were lifted and placed into storage a few days ago after Newington History Group (NHG) asked to re-site the flint remains in the village.

The group sought permission from Kent County Council archaeologists and experts at Swale and Thames Archeological Survey who excavated the foundations in April.

Dean Coles, chairman of NHG, said: ‘We’re excited and proud to have obtained Watling Place Temple for the village.

‘When news of the finds became public, villagers were upset at the thought of them being buried again.

‘We looked at how we could save the temple, recognising its unique and immense historic value to the village.’

An 18-acre settlement was uncovered alongside pottery (pictured), coins and a stretch of ancient road

An 18-acre settlement was uncovered alongside pottery (pictured), coins and a stretch of ancient road

Artist's impression of the Roman temple. Historians have saved a 2,000-year-old Romano-Celtic temple in the Kent village of Newington after developers were set to rebury it to build a housing development

Artist’s impression of the Roman temple. Historians have saved a 2,000-year-old Romano-Celtic temple in the Kent village of Newington after developers were set to rebury it to build a housing development

Celtic stater crop - gold celtic stater (inscribed) from Dubnovellanus (c.30-10BC) of the Trinovantes and Catuvellauni tribes of pre-Roman Britain found at the site

Celtic stater crop – gold celtic stater (inscribed) from Dubnovellanus (c.30-10BC) of the Trinovantes and Catuvellauni tribes of pre-Roman Britain found at the site 

He added: ‘Now the temple will be a physical reminder of Newington’s long and fascinating heritage.’

It is hoped the temple will become a focal point in Newington and illustrate how the village developed as a Roman town.

Dr Paul Wilkinson, director of SWAT Archaeology, said the discovery strengthens the likelihood that Newington could be being the long-lost Roman town of Durooevum, often thought to have been near Faversham.

He said: ‘The industry, residential quarter and temple tell us that Newington could be Durolevum.

‘It is wonderful that part of our Roman heritage is to be rescued and preserved by the efforts of the local community.’

The rarity of Roman temples in England, with only some 150 recorded sites, means that all Romano-Celtic temples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

The first exhibition of the excavations will be unveiled to the public on September 14 and 15 at NHG’s Newington Uncovered as part of the National Heritage Open Days event.

The temple includes remains of a place of worship which has since been named Watling Temple - making it one of only 150 sites recorded in England

The temple includes remains of a place of worship which has since been named Watling Temple – making it one of only 150 sites recorded in England





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