Published: 00:01, 27 December 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
by Lauren Fruen
A man has revealed the discovery of a Roman cockpit theatre almost at the bottom of his back garden in Faversham.
Dr Paul Wilkinson, of the Kent Archaeological Field School, says the 2,000-year-old monument is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain.
The theatre, which would have seated 12,000 people, was found at School Farm.
Now Dr Wilkinson, pictured below, is fighting to preserve the unique find for future generations.
He said: "It really is an amazing find, the first one in Britain, and it is just beyond my garden. This is a unique and wonderful discovery, not only for Faversham but for all of Britain.
"The theatre could have held 12,000 people and we are going to request for it to become an ancient monument site because it is so important and we can preserve it for future generations."
The site shows activity dating back to the Bronze Age, but it is the Roman theatre, which would have been used for religious occasions, that has really excited history buffs.
Dr Wilkinson added: "It would have been a religious sanctuary for the Romans. They would have held religious festivals there. It is called a cockpit theatre.
"There are 150 of them in northern Europe, but none in Britain until now. We were not expecting it."
The discovery was made by the Kent Archaeological Field School, which is based in Faversham.
Investigations began on the land back in 2007, but the results have only just been released.
Dr Wilkinson believes the site is the only known example in Britain of a Roman rural religious sanctuary, with a theatre actually built into the hillside.
English Heritage spokesman Debbie Hickman said: "If the full analysis of the results does confirm that the site on the outskirts of Faversham is a Roman rural theatre, it would be a most remarkable find."
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.