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Hemel Hempstead Herts

Our Hemel team was on site to manage the archaeological planning condition relating to a 300+ homes development .

Our rolling programme of investigation and recording ensured land release according to developer timeline in spite of substantial archaeological finds.

Bringing daily lives into sharp focus, a fascinating picture has emerged of a native Iron Age population who rapidly adopted Roman ways to create a thriving, possibly industrial settlement.

A number of clay extraction pits were revealed together with cremation burials, a substantial stone-lined pit and part of a Roman pillar.

These, together with more personal items including a shoe, a vase and a ceramic ‘sieve’ revealed aspects of late Iron Age and Romano-British domestic, industrial, ritual and agricultural life spanning the period from the mid-1st century to the late 2nd century AD.

The high quality of these artefacts suggests a financially successful group of people, possibly not high status but certainly prosperous. 

Then, sometime in the late 2nd century, the site was deliberately destroyed and abandoned, and the occupants moved elsewhere although they probably continued to use the area to bury their dead during the late 2nd and possibly early 3rd centuries. The reasons for this abandonment are not entirely clear but a similar trend has been noted at other sites in the local area.

Results

The archaeological features uncovered by Border Archaeology’s on-site team were consistently more numerous and complex than the remains identified in the evaluation and geophysical survey undertaken prior to our involvement.

Project Details

Client

Major Housebuilder plc

Sector

Housing/Commercial Development

Services

Strip, Map, Record & Excavate

Key Points

  • Timely land release in spite of substantial archaeological discovery
  •  Late Iron Age/Romano-British transition
  •  Large-scale strip and recording
  •  300- home development
  •  Archaeological Planning Conditions discharged