Cumbria

Cockermouth excavation unearths Roman fertility god

Genius Loci fertility deity statue Image copyright Wardell Armstrong
Image caption The complete statue of Roman fertility god Genius Loci is thought to be the guardian of the area

A carving of a Roman fertility god from the first century AD has been unearthed during an excavation in Cumbria.

The find, called Genius Loci, is about 2ft (0.6m) tall and was discovered by archaeologists from Wardell Armstrong at Papcastle near Cockermouth.

Regional manager, Frank Giecco, said it was a "once in a lifetime" find.

The team began exploring the site after Roman treasures and the remains of a settlement were found following floods in the area in November 2009.

Artefacts, including pottery, metalwork, coins and glass have discovered at the site along with substantial stone and wooden buildings and the most complete Roman water mill yet recorded in Britain.

Mr Giecco said: "This happens once in a lifetime. You can work in archaeology all your life and never find anything like that. It's incredible.

"We've only just scratched the surface. It's been a big community project with hundreds of people working on it.

"We've had over 500 schoolchildren involved with the project. Without them it wouldn't have happened."

The dig is managed by Grampus Heritage and is funded by the Heritage Lottery.

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