Wealthy Roman Settlement Excavated by HS2 Archaeologists

Archaeologists working for HS2 have excavated a vast Roman settlement in Northamptonshire.

This is one of over 100 archaeological sites HS2 has examined between London and Birmingham since 2018, and was the focus of a recent episode of BBC’s Digging for Britain series.

Roman road surface
Roman road surface.

A team of around 80 archaeologists from MOLA Headland Infrastructure have spent the last twelve months excavating Blackgrounds – named after the black soil found there.

The settlement began life as an Iron Age village made up of 30 roundhouses and evolved into a wealthy Roman trading town.

Although its existence has been known since the 1700s, the scale and quality of the site has surpassed all expectations.

In addition to stone workshops, kilns and wells, a 10m-wide Roman road was uncovered, along with more than 300 Roman coins.

The uncovered artefacts are now being cleaned and analysed, while the buildings and settlement’s layouts are currently being mapped.

Mike Court, Lead Archaeologist, HS2, said:

“As we near the end of our archaeological field work between London and Birmingham, we have made some unprecedented discoveries.

“The opportunity to carefully examine a site such as Blackgrounds, and map out a long history of the site, brought to life through artefacts, building remains and roads, has enabled us to provide a more in depth understanding of what life was like in rural South Northamptonshire in the Iron and Roman Age.”

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