Road projects and Roman archaeology have been going hand in hand in Lincolnshire recently, first with news of major and ongoing discoveries at Washingborough as part of Lincoln’s new bypass (see my post on those here), and now a new press release (viewable here) is telling us a little of the discoveries being made during excavations as part of Grantham’s Southern Relief Road.
The excavations, being carried out by Middlesex based AOC Archaeology, are the latest in a series of archaeological interventions along the route. The Roman significance of the area is huge, as the route of the road runs just north of Little Ponton, in the area where we know the Roman town of Saltersford, tentatively identified with the name Causennae, was located. Discoveries in the early 20th Century by the antiquarian Henry Preston, manager of the Grantham Waterworks, revealed an extensive settlement (see my previous post here for some of the discoveries there and one of Preston’s illustrations of some of his finds). Of all of the major Roman settlements of Lincolnshire, Saltersford is the one about which we know least, so any new evidence to add to our understanding of both the extent and nature of the settlement will be significant.
The press release does not add much detail at the moment (further synthesis and publication will doubtless follow in due course), but does reveal that substantial remains have been encountered:
“The archaeology we’ve been finding includes lots of linear ditches, quarry pits, kilns, coins and a cemetery, but we’re also finding unexpected remains like a stone wall near to a metalled / roughly paved surface with an earlier ditch underneath.”
Slightly more curious is the use of the phrase ‘this is a very interesting and mysterious site‘ as the nature of the ‘mystery’ is not explained. Is it simply due to the lack of understanding we currently have about Saltersford, or is it a reference to some interesting questions raised during the excavations? Only time will tell…
Update – see my follow up post here for some more images from the Grantham Relief Road excavations.