Large Roman Settlement Remains Found Near Cambridge
"Absolutely fascinating" archaeological remains from a large Roman settlement have been uncovered on the site of a new housing development in Bottisham.
The discovery was made during an excavation of the site off Tunbridge Lane before Bloor Homes began work on the 24-home De Havilland Orchard development.
The three-month excavation, carried out by Pre-Construct Archaeology under the direction of CgMs Consulting, was commissioned by the developer due to the archaeological significance of previous finds made in the area.
The team of archaeologists uncovered three high-status Roman buildings, which formed part of a rural villa complex dating from between around 200 to 400 AD.
It is believed one of the buildings was a bath house as there is evidence of an underfloor heating system.
A variety of artefacts dating from the Roman period was also discovered, including a 4th century coin of Constantine II, ceramic building tiles, Roman stone work, and the spout on a pottery vessel imported from the continent.
Also found in the dig were a wide range of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age flints, indicating the area was occupied much earlier than Roman times.
Duncan Hawkins, operations director of CgMs Consulting, said: “We knew from remains and previous finds in the area that Bottisham is a place of very high archaeological significance and the discoveries made during this excavation certainly didn’t disappoint.
“We believe one of the three Roman buildings was part of a bath house and the presence of box-flue tile and pilae stacks, which were used in underfloor heating systems, is a sign of the wealth and status of the owners.
“Another extremely exciting discovery was the evidence of medieval settlement activity, which suggests that the medieval village of Bottisham may have once expanded along Tunbridge Lane.”
In more recent times, the site was used as a base for RAF personnel stationed at the nearby RAF Bottisham airfield, but has stood derelict for several decades.
Monika Hanlon, regional sales director for Bloor Homes Eastern, added: “The site’s recent history as an RAF camp is well known to many, so it’s been absolutely fascinating to discover more about the area’s more distant past.
“Now the excavation has been completed, we are looking forward to transforming this long-time derelict site into a community once again.”