Campaign to save Gloucestershire Roman villa unearthed on estate

image captionThe discovery includes a bathhouse

A campaign has been launched to protect the remains of a Roman villa unearthed during work on a new housing estate.

The villa was discovered in Cam, Gloucestershire, by archaeologists working on behalf of Bovis Homes.

BBC TV presenter and archaeology expert Professor Mark Horton is among those calling for it to be saved, describing it as "a very important discovery".

But the developer says archaeologists have told them the villa does not qualify for preservation.

image captionChristie McLean said everyone in Cam was "in awe" of the villa

Resident Christie McLean has started a petition to help save the villa, which had over 2,000 signatures within a day of launching.

She said there was a "mix of anger and frustration" that the villa could be built on.

"Everybody is in awe of it," she said. "There are some historical landmarks around here but nothing as obvious.

"We are hoping with the petition and more voices that they (Bovis) can adjust their current plans."

image captionA petition to preserve the discovery attracted over 350 signatures on the day it went live

Fellow resident Jill Davis said there was a huge amount of interest locally.

"As far as we know it is the only Roman villa in Cam or Dursley," she said. "We just can't believe that it was here and nobody knew about it."

image captionProf Mark Horton called for Bovis Homes to redesign its development to avoid the bathhouse

Royal Agricultural University archaeologist Prof Horton said: "Local community interest and action is critical if this site is going to be saved.

"There is absolutely no reason why it can't be, with a little sensible redesign.

"While villas are quite common in these parts, the preservation is exceptional."

However, a statement from Bovis Homes said archaeologists who examined the villa told them it doesn't qualify for preservation.

"It is not unusual to uncover foundations or remnants of buildings," the statement said.

"We will encourage them (the archaeologists) to share their findings with the local community once work is complete."

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