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High-speed rail construction reveals Roman town in the UK

the Museum of London Archaeology
River Cherwell
MOLA Headland Infrastructure
the Ars Orbital Transmission
CNMN Collection WIRED Media Group
Condé Nast

Kiona N. Smith


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the MOLA Headland Infrastructure

South Northamptonshire
the Roman Empire
Roman Britain
Roman Empire’s

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The New York Times
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Archaeologists surveying the planned route of a high-speed railway between London and Birmingham in the UK unearthed the remains of a Roman trading town in what is now South Northamptonshire.At its height, the town boasted an assortment of workshops and businesses, with long-buried foundations that archaeologists have spent the past year carefully unearthing from the site’s dark—almost black—soil. According to archaeologists with the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) Headland Infrastructure, most of that wealth probably came from trade along the nearby River Cherwell or the 10-meter-wide stone-paved Roman road running through the middle of the town.“It indicates that the settlement would have been very busy, with carts simultaneously coming and going to load and unload goods,” said MOLA Headland Infrastructure in a statement.People at the site, now called Blackgrounds for its dark soil, lived on the far-flung western frontier of the Roman Empire, but they lived a distinctly Roman way of life. That’s what happened in other communities across Roman Britain and throughout the Roman Empire’s other provinces, after all.Over time, the small Iron Age village expanded into a town, and as trade brought more prosperity, people built stone buildings—and eventually, a stone-paved Roman road “exceptional in its size,” according to the MOLA Headland Infrastructure archaeologists.It’s not clear exactly what happened at Blackgrounds when Rome pulled out of Britain around 400 CE, but by the 1700s, people living in the nearby villages of Edgcote and Chipping Warden knew the site as an ancient Roman town.

As said here by Kiona N. Smith