|Stanion Villa Excavation|
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| The villa was discovered after the field had been stripped
of topsoil prior to it being levelled for the construction of a composting unit.
A condition of the planning consent for this development was for the site to be
inspected, to ensure that no significant archaeological deposits were present.
However, when the topsoil was removed it became apparent that the remains of a
substantial Roman building had been uncovered. |
With the much appreciated co-operation of the landowner Mr Baker, The Historic Environment Team of Northamptonshire County Council immediately funded a team from the County Archaeological Unit to assess the nature and extent of the remains. When the importance of the site became clear, English Heritage were approached to provide funding for a rescue excavation.
|N.A.S. members' site visit, Sunday 19 May 2002|
|This began on Tuesday 7 May, since when the ground plan of the building has been revealed as well as plain mosaic floors and evidence that the walls were decorated with painted plaster. Approximately one third of a winged corridor villa has been revealed with over a metre of stratified deposits in parts.|
|Finds to date have included much Roman pottery including large wine jars from the Mediterranean and fine table wares from central France. There have also been finds of glass vessels, carved imported marble, bronze brooches and iron objects. A rare find was a complete bone whistle found on a yard surface in front of the villa.|
|One coin found inside the building bears the early Christian Chi Rho monogram. It has mortar residues on the opposite face, suggesting that it had been attached to a wall as an emblem. Perhaps further evidence of Roman Christianity in this area, as witnessed by finds of Roman lead baptismal fonts at Ashton and Rushden and the Water Newton Treasure (a group of Roman silver vessels thought to be the earliest collection of church plate known anywhere).|
| Poppy Beaker found next to a
wall within the villa,|
containing bones of a small animal
|The villa would have been the centre of a large agricultural estate and just outside the villa building, a large corn-drying oven was found. These were a Roman introduction to British agriculture which helped to preserve the grain harvest.|
|large corn-drying oven|
| This excavation is being funded
by English Heritage and directed by N.A.S. chairman, Dr Martin Tingle. The digging
team has been provided by The Northamptonshire County Council Archaeological Unit
and members of the N.A.S. and MIDNAG. |
The archaeologists have until the 21 May to complete their work, shortly after which, the whole site will be levelled, destroying the exposed remains.