Unearthing the bare bones of Roman rural life in the English countryside

New collaboration at Chester Farm, Northamptonshire
Unearthing the bare bones of Roman rural life in the English countryside

4th century Nene Valley miniature vessle

This year students from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History will have the opportunity to work alongside the local community team excavating at a small Roman town just outside of Irchester, Northamptonshire.  As part of a new collaborative partnership between the School and Northamptonshire County Council, who own the site, work this year will be focused on one of the late Roman cemeteries outside of the walled Roman town.

Located in a busy landscape which has revealed evidence as far back as Mesolithic times and has been farmed since the Bronze Age, the town site at Chester Farm, sits beside a cross-country Roman road and an important crossing point of the river Nene.  The excavation this year is in the area of the old orchard and forms part of a wider programme to  help improve our understanding of the development of the extra-mural area during the Roman period and the subsequent changes that have taken place in the landscape over time.

In the past few days work has begun to prepare the site for excavation, revealing in the process further burials from the known late Roman cemetery, sections of Roman roads and trackways, various pits and ditches, and some interesting finds. Excavations on the site will run from 3rd – 21st June this year, and continue as an archaeological fieldschool for undergraduate students next year. 

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