Marcus, the Roman Centurion minifigure, is making the final preparations to set off on the first stage of exploring the Roman Empire from Epiacum Roman Fort in South Tynedale. As part of the celebrations marking the 60th year since the first archaeology excavations took place at the special site, the volunteers of Epiacum are sending him off to spread the word about the fort and its landscape. Now we hope families will join in the fun and move Marcus from cache to cache so he can patrol the rest of the Empire.
Marcus is part of a worldwide treasure hunting game called geocaching, which encourages people to explore their local countryside and find secret packages left by other geocachers. Earlier in March, the volunteers at Epiacum set up their first geocache, hidden at a spot that gives a great view of the fort. Now they have put the Marcus minifigure into their cache and are tracking him on the geocaching.com website to follow his adventures as other geocachers help him complete his mission.
It’s 60 years since the 1957 excavations which established that the fort is incredibly well preserved. This is thanks to the generations of farmers who have looked after the land. The archaeological findings were so important that only a few years later, the fort was made a scheduled monument. Since then the site has been protected and only Epiacum’s infamous moles have been allowed to dig there.
The popular molehill surveys turned up treasures that will be on show at the forthcoming Diamond conference on 20th May 2017, alongside artefacts from the 1957 dig.
Geocaching is a really fun way to get kids out and exploring for free. They love the challenge of hunting for the hidden caches, and the website helps them find out interesting nuggets about the places. All you need is a smartphone with a geocaching app, and you can find out how easy it is at www.geocaching.com.
You can follow Marcus on his mission, and book tickets for the Diamond Conference at www.epiacumheritage.org.