Binchester, just outside Bishop Auckland, County Durham, has some of Britain’s best-preserved Roman remains, including a bath house with seven-foot walls and painted plaster.
Last year a statue head, possibly of a Geordie Roman god, was found by an archaeology student helping with the major excavation works that are being carried out.
The land where the settlement has stood for around 1,800 years is owned by the Church Commissioners. They are selling ten plots around Bishop Auckland, including two adjoining ones that cover the Binchester site.
The Auckland Castle Trust, financed by city philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer and which is aiming to reinvigorate the local area with tourism by tapping into its heritage, has made a £2 million bid for the plots.
Dr David Petts, lecturer in archaeology at Durham University who has been project co-ordinator on the Binchester excavation, said: “Binchester is one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in Britain and deserves to be protected for future generations to visit.”
Only a small percentage of the settlement, which surrounded a fort on the road north to Hadrian’s Wall, has been revealed so far.
Durham County Council retains a deed of guardianship for the site, which ensures public access, the statement added. “Consequently any suggestion about the fort falling into the hands of developers is very wide of the mark.”
Let the Church Commissioners hear your views firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be aware that they are NOT going to develop the land per ce, but the threat exists that it could be external to the Scheduled are, which itself would require a massive commercial project to mitigate. HOWEVER, it is worth suggesting to the commissioners that they have a heritage asset that can be utilised to the benefit of the local area and the academic community for many many years. This is a perfect place for tourism, art and architecture projects, archaeology and training to take place. Don’t give it away to just anyone.
More about Binchester here: http://binchester.blogspot.co.uk/