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Wed January 26 2022

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Huge Roman trading settlement found at HS2 archaeological site in Northamptonshire

Archaeologists working for HS2 Ltd have uncovered one of the most significant archaeological sites on the project to date near a small village in South Northamptonshire. Over the past twelve months, a team of around 80 archaeologists from MOLA Headland Infrastructure have been excavating an Iron Age village which developed into a wealthy Roman trading town.

The presence of such a significant archaeological site in the area has been known since the 18th century, and initial survey and analysis by HS2 gave some indication of what could be discovered there. However, the scale and quality of the discoveries on site have surpassed expectations.

Running through the site is a 10m wide Roman Road which is exceptional in its size. It indicates that the settlement would have been very busy with carts simultaneously coming and going to load and unload goods. The wealth of the settlement is likely to have been based on trade, both from the nearby River Cherwell and via the Roman road. Over 300 Roman coins, discovered as if lost or discarded, have been recovered, an indication that a significant volume of commerce was passing through this area.

At its peak during the Roman age, Blackgrounds would have been a bustling and busy area, shown though the evidence of workshops, kilns, and several beautifully preserved wells, uncovered by HS2 archaeologists. In one area of the site, the earth has been preserved with a fiery red colour, indicating that the area would have been used for activities involving burning, such as bread making, foundries for metal work, or a pottery kiln.

Video uploaded on 13/01/2022 12:00am.

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