Northampton dig unearths Roman pottery

An unusual collection of pottery which was dumped in a ditch on the edge of Northampton 2,000 years ago has left archaeologists bemused. 

Archaeological dig at Upton where some Roman pottery was unearthed [Credit: Northampton Chronicle]
The pots, some of which come from Europe, were unearthed on the edge of the new Upton village during an archaeological dig this week. 

Archaeologist, Liz Muldowney, who is leading the dig, said it was not yet clear why the pots, which are well preserved, had been buried on the site. 

She said: “We don’t know why the pottery is here, but it suggests there was a house of reasonably high status nearby. 

“It’s certainly very unusual to find a collection of pottery together like this. 

“Sometimes it’s associated with people moving home – they deliberately throw away their pottery when they leave. But they’ve quite deliberately thrown away some very expensive items. For farmers to be able to afford pottery that’s come from France represents a significant part of their limited wealth.” 

The dig across a 10-acre site is being carried out before new houses are built in Upton. 

Previous excavations on the land have revealed the site, which is close to Weedon Road, was populated during the Iron Age and early Roman period. 

Mrs Muldowney said: “The dig has proved this wasn’t an urban area, it’s agricultural land outside the old Roman town of Duston. 

“We’ve got stock enclosures from the early Roman period, showing they’ve been using 
this land for farming and living on. 

“It’s hard to tell how many people would have lived here, but it’s likely to be extended families and there could have been 20 to 40 people here in the Iron Age.” 

The pottery which was found in the ditch included valuable samian ware which dates form the early Roman period. 

Buried alongside it were a plate, a storage jar and a small dish. 

Mrs Muldowney said: “It’s very unusual to find a collection of pottery together like this. We really don’t know why they’ve done it.” The finds have now been sent off to pottery experts to be examined. 

Author: Wayne Bontofy | Source: Northampton Chronicle [June 02, 2012]

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