On the territory of the county of Northamptonshire, which is located in the very center of England, half a meter from the surface, the ruins of a rich Roman trading city were found, whose inhabitants adorned themselves with jewelry, ate from fine pottery, used unusual cosmetics and kept slaves. On a site near the small town of Chipping Warden, over a year of work, 80 archaeologists dug up a multi-lane Roman road 10 m wide, residential and industrial buildings, more than 300 coins and at least four wells, writes The Guardian.
The excavation field is located on the border of Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, in this place it is planned to conduct a route of the high-speed railway network under construction High Speed 2 between London and Birmingham, therefore, since 2018, archaeologists have been checking this entire territory, according to the adopted rules. They have already managed to find over a hundred new archaeological sites along this route, but the Roman city can be considered one of the most significant finds made to date. The site near Chipping Warden is named Blackgrounds because of the dense black soil that helped preserve the Roman artifacts.
“The site was previously used for grazing and the soil effectively conserved what was left underneath,” explains James West of Mola Headland Infrastructure, who is directing the excavation. The presence of archaeological antiquities in this area has been known since the 18th century, but the finds made during the current excavations exceeded all expectations of experts, they literally turned the ideas of historians about the Roman era. “This is by far one of the most impressive locations we have found on the HS2 route,” West says. “The discovery of such a well-preserved section of the Roman road and many other things was an extraordinary event and can tell us a lot about the people who lived here. This place can truly change the way we think about the Roman landscape in the region and beyond. ” An Iron Age village of more than 30 circular houses was located on this site during the Roman invasion of 43 AD. During the period of Roman rule, which lasted until 410 AD, the settlement expanded and became even more prosperous. At the time of its highest rise, hundreds of people lived in this city, which is quite a lot by ancient standards.
The “Romanization” of the inhabitants included adaptations to Roman customs, products, and construction methods. Their increased wealth is evidenced by the number of Roman coins and weights discovered, which is considered a sign of extensive commercial activity. One weight was decorated with the image of a female deity, which indicates the high status of its owner. Jewelry with fine ornamentation, glass vessels and exquisite Samos pottery brought from Gaul were also recovered from the black soil. Evidence of the active use of Roman cosmetics by the inhabitants was obtained after the discovery of traces of the mineral galena, lead luster – lead sulfide, which was ground and mixed with oil to apply makeup. Half of the shackles were also found, suggesting either the use of slave labor or the keeping of prisoners in prisons.