It was a big
thanks to Joan Dickinson that the evening went on at all. Our
usual venue, Central Library, fell victim to a power cut and was
out of action. As people began to arrive just after 7pm Joan saw
the opportunity to go to St Laurence’s church. Fortunately, a
room sufficient for our needs was available so advantage of that
was swiftly taken.
Although lacking a screen Peter Iles, a County Archaeologist,
adapted an area of blank wall onto which he could project his
Peter set the scene by explaining Walton-le-Dale’s importance at
the confluence of the rivers Ribble and Darwen. His talk
concentrated on a series of excavations.
The earliest is by E Baines that was summarised by Charles
Hardwick in 1870. It detailed finds of innumerable fragments of
pottery, Roman coins, hard compact remains of road and visible
traces of ancient earthworks.
Further, very good, work was done by Pickering, a true amateur.
His work took place from 1947-57 by digging trenches and
By the early 1980’s the Cumbria and Lancashire Archaeological
Unit carried out small pieces of investigation prior to
development of the site. Unfortunately, not many were reported
as well as Pickering’s but Peter hoped this would soon be
rectified. However, what was established was that there was no
evidence found of any defences at the site. It appears it was
more likely to have been a place of industrial activity, unlike
Ribchester and Kirkham.
Further work carried out by the Lancaster University Archaeology
Unit (LUAU) provided evidence of iron smiths’ workings and
As late as 2003, with test pits dug by the River Darwen, 2
crucibles were found and evidence of a process that separated
silver from lead. What is noted is that not a single tool was
found here, not even broken ones. Only waste material.
Peter said that Oxford Archaeology North’s eagerly awaited
report on the 1980’s investigations should throw more light on
this interesting local Roman site.
The usual question and answer session generated plenty of
interest from those present and, thanks to Peter Iles and Joan,
concluded a very good evening.