A COMMUNITY dig has unearthed the only site of Roman iron production found so far in the county outside Worcester.

The Hanleys’ Village Society organised more than 60 volunteers to work on the site off Quay Lane, Hanley Castle beside the Severn, last September and October.

This community dig produced a lot of Roman pottery, large quantities of iron slag and uncovered the floor of a possible blacksmith’s workshop.

Malcolm Fare of the society said: “We were quite surprised by the amount of Roman remains that came from this field, particularly the industrial remains.

“I hope that we can get further funding from the lottery and continue excavations on the site.”

A geophysical survey and fieldwalking had provided advance information so trenches could be effectively positioned for in-depth investigations. Despite wet weather, volunteers turned out enthusiastically to excavate four trenches.

The remains were almost exclusively of Roman date and consisted mainly of ditches and pits or postholes. From the material found, archaeologists have deduced activity dated to about the mid-second to mid-third centuries AD, and that iron was made there.

This discovery implies the river was key to life in Hanley Castle in the Roman period, and that a Roman quayside may eventually be discovered.

The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supervised by Worcester Archaeology.

Remains of Roman ironworking are widespread in Worcester, at the Lychgate and other locations.

Senior project manager Derek Hurst of Worcester Archaeology will talk about the Hanley site and the finds at a meeting at Hanley Castle High School, on Sunday, February 24, at 2pm.

Admission is free to society members and £2.50 to visitors.