Rude Roman pots halt city revamp
WORK on the £11.6 million revamp of Canterbury's prestigious Beaney Institute has ground to a halt – because of Roman pornography.
Archaeologists are racing against time to recover lost evidence beneath the city's streets before the builders return.
Among the artefacts already uncovered are saucy carvings of couples having sex.
A spokesman confirmed: "We have found many personal effects and high-class pottery – known as samianware – depicting hunting and erotic scenes."
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A team from Canterbury Archaeological Trust is digging in shifts seven days a week to take advantage of the temporary halt in the building programme.
Trust Director Paul Bennett said: "We are grateful to the city council for allowing us the extra time.
"This is a vitally important site in the heart of Canterbury. What we have discovered is a unique glimpse of ordinary everyday life."
Among the discoveries is a well-metalled and cambered Roman road and a large masonry and timber-framed building.
Mr Bennett added: "The street frontage is flanked by a narrow timber-framed portico, supported on dwarf walls that are perfectly preserved, including scars and a 'void' for timbers that have rotted."
The excavation began in February and was due to end last week. But work has been extended for three more weeks.
Archaeologists believe they have stumbled on an extensive network of small shops, homes and lanes representing inner-city life nearly 2,000 years ago.
Nearby is a clay-floored workshop or shop containing bread ovens. There is evidence to suggest it burnt down and was rebuilt. The time team believe they have also uncovered stables.
The Beaney building in the High Street dates back to 1900. It is being extended to double its size to update the city's museum and library.