Archaeologists have found what they believe could be evidence of a near-2,000-year-old Roman vineyard in southern England.
21st Century vineyards in England, like this one, could be part of a legacy from Roman times
A team from the University of Cambridge’s division of archeology has uncovered a series of Roman-era planting beds set in ‘zebra-like stripes’ on part of a 150ha area believed to have been a Roman settlement.
The site, located near to Cambridge, is thought to be more evidence that the Romans introduced winemaking to the UK following their invasion from AD 43.
‘The gully-defined planting beds were closely set and, only some two metres apart, were probably for grapevines,’ said the team.
Chris Evans, executive director of the university’s archaeology unit, told Decanter.com the theory was based on precedent at other Roman vineyard sites, including one found in Northamptonshire several years ago.
However, there is a possibility that the land could also have been used for asparagus. ‘We await our pollen results which hopefully should provide a more definite answer,’ Evans said.
He added that the site also shows evidence of irrigation, suggesting the Romans were practising intensive farming there.
Written by Chris Mercer