18 Dec Romano-British settlement in Woburn
For the past 3 months, staff from Headland Archaeology’s South & East team have been excavating a 3.5ha Romano-British industrial settlement site in advance of the construction of a reservoir in Woburn, Bedfordshire. Evaluative work undertaken by Headland in late 2011 identified that the densely occupied settlement site covered the entire 6.7ha development area. In liaison with the client and Central Bedfordshire’s Planning Archaeologist, Headland designed a scheme to preserve half of the 6.7ha site in situ through landscaping and excavate only those parts of the site impacted by the development (3.5ha).
Investigations within the excavation area uncovered the remains of a complex Romano-British settlement, complete with a cremation cemetery and a rare assemblage of pottery kilns and metal working furnaces. Many of the kilns are sunken kilns, dug as deep as 1.7m into the surrounding sand – as a consequence of their depth they are very well preserved with intact fireboxes and kiln chambers, some of which preserve the in situ remains of the last firing.
The assemblage is extremely unusual for Bedfordshire which has only two true Roman towns (Sandy and Dunstable) and only one other major Roman-British pottery production industry at Harold.