Broadcast 13 March 2011

In June 2010 an archaeological evaluation comprising the excavation of five trenches and a geophysical survey was undertaken by Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ around St Kyneburga’s Church, Castor, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire (NGR 512468.94, 298527.97) to investigate the remains of an extensive complex of Roman buildings.

These buildings were first investigated in the 1820s by antiquarian Edmund Artis, and the buildings were interpreted as a single unified structure, subsequently termed a Praetorium. Several other investigations into the Praetorium of Castor took place following the publication of Artis’s work in 1828 in an attempt to refine the complex’s layout.

Time Team’s work aimed to clarify the layout of the Praetorium and to phase the development of the buildings. In this the evaluation was only partially successful.

Four of the five trenches were positioned in areas which had been previously excavated, and there proved to be a lack of stratified dateable artefacts which could be used to phase the different elements of the building complex. Furthermore, due to the small size of the trenches it was unclear whether the building remains in fact represented a single unified structure or a series of detached buildings. What was clear, however, was that substantial building remains still survive in and around the church of St Kyneburga, and that the work by Edmund Artis in the 1820s had produced very accurate plans and records for the time.