Unearthing the past on A453 widening
A453 : Wiki Commons
A late Iron Age/early Roman settlement has been uncovered during archaeological digs along the route for the Highways Agency’s A453 widening in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.
The site began with a late Iron Age enclosure ditch and settlement, and continued in use into the Roman period and dates from the 1st century BC to the 3rdcentury AD. Other evidence that the site covered both eras was the discovery of human remains.
One individual was buried in a crouched position and is likely to be Iron Age in date. An individual in a second grave had been buried in the extended position, which was usually a Roman ritual.
The graves were greatly damaged through ploughing, and a jet bracelet found in a shallow pit may have lain in the base of another ploughed out grave.
The dig, which ends this week, was carried out alongside other advance work for the widening scheme. Site clearance and fencing work are still taking place and compounds will soon be built ahead of main construction which is due to start between January and March next year.
Highways Agency Senior Project Manager Iftikhar Mir said:
“While widening the existing A453 is all about planning for the future, it’s important that we also consider the past which is why archaeological work is an integral part of what we do at the Highways Agency.
“It is important that the area’s history is recorded and preserved to help inform future generations.”
Wessex Archaeology Project Manager Andy Norton said: “The finds from our work tell us that farming has taken place on this site for over 2,000 years. The site was home to a farmstead that lasted for several generations and was home to ordinary Romano-British people. It is fascinating that we have found the graves of two of the people that lived here.”
Once investigations are complete the bones will be donated to a local museum or reburied. The A453 improvement will widen a seven mile stretch of the busy A453 between Junction 24 of the M1 and the A52 Nottingham Ring Road. Road users will benefit from reduced congestion, faster, more reliable journeys and improved safety on the route – a major link serving Nottingham, the M1 andEastMidlandsAirport.
As well as dealing with long-standing congestion and safety problems, the scheme will improve access to East Midlands Parkwaystation, and the Enterprise Zone at Beeston.