Roman treasure trove unearthed in St Albans

A treasure trove of Roman architecture has been unearthed during an archaeological excavation of the Westminster Lodge site.

A team of archaeologists began digging earlier this month before a planning application to develop a leisure centre on the site in Holywell Hill was submitted to St Albans District Council.

And the dig has thrown up some interesting finds, including a Roman mill, trenches and prehistoric flints.

Richard Shwe, head of culture and community development at St Albans District Council, said: “As part of the new development at Westminster Lodge, the council has undertaken a geophysical survey of the proposed development site.

"Twelve trenches, including two pairs which were joined and L-shaped, have been excavated.

"Approximately five of the evaluation trenches produced stratified archaeological deposits.

"The main features found in the trenches include a two-phase Roman building, possibly a mill, which appears to have been partially demolished in the Roman or medieval period for building materials.

"In addition, a ditch was found close by which could be the mill’s associated leat.

"These two features will be preserved in situ and the trenches in which they were discovered have been backfilled for reasons of health and safety. The preliminary dating of these features is second to third century AD.

"Evidence suggests that the building may have had painted walls and a solid concrete floor.

"Other finds included prehistoric flints, possibly dating from the late mesolithic to early neolithic periods, circa 4,000BC.

"Pits and layers of archaeological deposits from the Roman period or later have also been discovered and additional work will be carried out to investigate these further.

"Most of the known archaeology is located towards the Holywell Hill entrance into Verulamium Park and will not affect the leisure centre development.”

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Comments (3)

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12:09pm Fri 29 Jan 10

Vanessa says...

This work must not be rushed or under-resourced. I am intrigued by the possibility of a mill with an associate leat being unearthed.

It would have been nice especially as it is ‘residents first’ weekend this weekend for us to have had to opportunity to see it, but it seems from your story it has already been covered up!
This work must not be rushed or under-resourced. I am intrigued by the possibility of a mill with an associate leat being unearthed. It would have been nice especially as it is ‘residents first’ weekend this weekend for us to have had to opportunity to see it, but it seems from your story it has already been covered up! Vanessa
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Fri 29 Jan 10

FatBob says...

I had no idea Mr Shwe is such a leading expert on Roman architecture and treasure troves. No wonder he got the job.
I had no idea Mr Shwe is such a leading expert on Roman architecture and treasure troves. No wonder he got the job. FatBob
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Fri 29 Jan 10

Vanessa says...

I don’t think he would claim to be an archaeologist Bob, although a capable man I am sure in his field. He is Head of Culture and Community Development – nice easy title to understand?! Not only is he in charge of sports, but perplexingly for me museums and heritage!
With regard to the Westminster Lodge site it looks as if, sadly for him, he has conflict of interest at the moment!
I don’t think he would claim to be an archaeologist Bob, although a capable man I am sure in his field. He is Head of Culture and Community Development – nice easy title to understand?! Not only is he in charge of sports, but perplexingly for me museums and heritage! With regard to the Westminster Lodge site it looks as if, sadly for him, he has conflict of interest at the moment! Vanessa
  • Score: 0

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