A team from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) has discovered a Roman trading settlement in south Northamptonshire, while working on the UK’s new rail line HS2. Around 80 archaeologists have been working at the site for a year – so far more than 300 Roman coins have been unearthed, along with artefacts such as glass vessels, decorative pottery, jewellery, and even evidence of make-up, from traces of lead sulphide (galena) found at the site. The mineral was was crushed and mixed with oil for use as make-up.
The site is known as Blackgrounds because of black soil found there – and is near the villages of Edgcote and Chipping Warden. The team has also uncovered 10m (33ft)-wide Roman road running through the site, which they say is “exceptional in its size”. It is thought that the location was originally an Iron Age village that developed into a Roman trading settlement. There is evidence that the initial site was expanded, with new buildings and roads constructed.
Site manager James West said:
“The site really does have the potential to transform our understanding of the Roman landscape in the region and beyond.”
You can learn more about the find tonight on BBC 2 in Digging for Britain at 20:00 GMT, or on BBC iPlayer afterwards.