Scanning centre plays vital role in major archaeological find

A medical scanning centre which specialises in cancer treatments has been involved in a ground breaking archaeological project.

The Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, based at Mount Vernon Hospital, contributed to the work carried out on an Iron Age site in Leicestershire.

Researchers utilised the specialist equipment at the centre to examine the collection of decorated cauldrons and jewellery that was discovered near the M1.

Dr Andrew Gogbashian, consultant radiologist at the centre, said: “We have the latest CT scanning technology and using our medical imaging skills and experience to contribute to such a significant archaeological discovery is a real privilege.

“The scans provided useful information in terms of the cauldron orientation, approximate dimensions and profiles, as well as tantalising glimpses of manufacturing methods.

“Most excitingly the scans also revealed exceptionally rare evidence for decoration from the period, further highlighting the significance of the site.”

It is thought that the discovery could be a potential ritual and ceremonial centre – a place where the community would hold large feasts.

Evidence suggests that the site was used over a long period of time by multiple generations and underwent striking changes in character.

Dr Gogbashian gave examples of a number of exciting finds, which underwent scanning at Paul Strickland.

These included a complete cauldron with raised stem and leaf motifs on the vessels iron band, close to the handle locations.

These are similar to the so-called ‘Vegetal Style’ of Celtic art, generally dated to the 4th century BC.

Another example of decoration was identified on a small copper alloy bowl fragment, which has a domed rivet or raised boss decoration.

Further details will only be possible from excavation and conservation, which is being undertaken by the Museum of London Archaeology.