Award-winning housebuilder Kier Living Eastern funded the archaeological dig at a site off Cambridge Road where it is planning to build homes at a development called The Park. The developer has also funded outreach work by Albion Archaeology to ensure youngsters at Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School were among the first to hear what had been discovered in their historic village. More than 140 local residents also attended presentations at which the finds were revealed.
The excited school children were given the unique opportunity to handle 2,000-year-old artefacts found at the site which is next to a major Roman road between Cambridge and Godmanchester, where exploratory work last year had suggested the presence of a wealthy roadside settlement. One part of the site is so well preserved that Kier Living Eastern, in consultation with Cambridgeshire County Council’s Historic Environment Team, agreed to leave it preserved within the open space of the development, while the rest of the site was excavated before construction started.
Kathy Pilkinton, who led the excavations which started in May, said: “We were expecting to find lots of Roman remains, but the results have proved even more interesting!” As well as the usual ditches and pits, the dig also revealed wells, the footings of a substantial Roman building, and a smaller Anglo-Saxon building.
The Romans left behind a large amount of cultural material at the settlement. Archaeologists from Albion Archaeology, which is part of Central Bedfordshire Council, recovered more than 100kg each of pottery and animal bones, as well as bracelets, hair pins, over 200 coins, and 11kg of oyster shells that are likely to have been imported down the river from The Wash. Two small cemeteries and a few isolated burials were uncovered, with over 20 individuals represented. Kier Living Eastern will now fund the analysis of the finds and a final report will be available at Cambridgeshire’s Historic Environment Record.
David Thomas, sales and marketing director for Kier Living Eastern, said: “We were delighted to work with Albion Archaeology at The Park which is an exciting development, not least because of the history of the site and the village itself.
“We wanted to give the youngsters at Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School, and other members of the community, a preview of the exciting preliminary findings.
“We are passionate about inspiring the next generation about the built environment and presenting them with information and artefacts that are from where they live, work and play is a great way to do this.”
Claire Worth, headteacher at the school, said: “Thank you to Albion Archaeology for visiting, the children and staff were transfixed by the presentations and have been so enthused that lots of them have embarked on their own research. A fantastic day was had by all.”
The development of 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses are perfect for first-time buyers, expanding families searching for larger homes and couples looking to downsize.
The new homes will benefit from this outstanding location being close to the A14 and its links to Cambridge and Huntingdon, and within easy walking distance of the centre of Fenstanton with its pubs, eateries and shops.
Kier Living Eastern will now fund the analysis of the finds and a final report will be available at Cambridgeshire’s Historic Environment Record.