New Roman artefact uncovered in St Albans’ Verulamium Park

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 May 2017

An 1,800-year-old kiln has been discovered under Verulamium St Albans

An 1,800-year-old kiln has been discovered under Verulamium St Albans


Archeologists have stumbled upon another artefact from Roman St Albans while gas-pipe work is carried out on historic sites.

An 1,800-year-old kiln has been unearthed - this is the fifth pottery oven that has been found in the area since the 1980s when the Abbey View running track was built.

Out of the other four, only one was not excavated because it was not under immediate threat.

The kilns stain the soil a deep red-orange colour and some shards of broken pottery are also still in the ground.

District archaeologist for St Albans district council’s (SADC) museums team, Simon West, said: “The pottery kiln is another exciting discovery that gives us a greater understanding of how Verulamium was set up. The old gas main would appear to cut through the middle of it.

An 1,800-year-old kiln has been discovered under Verulamium St AlbansAn 1,800-year-old kiln has been discovered under Verulamium St Albans

“It is further evidence of just how advanced and productive the Romans who settled in Verulamium all those centuries ago were.”

He said they are using the deep holes dug by Cadent while replacing 1.5km of gas mains as an opportunity to discover new things about the past.

St Albans Verulamium has historical significance because it was the site of the third largest Roman city in Britain.

Earlier last month archeologists found evidence of the mosaic floor of a Roman town house and a corner of the city wall without a tower - suggesting they were for aesthetic reasons as well as defence.

SADC’s portfolio holder for heritage Annie Brewster, said: “It is so exciting to discover additional details about the fascinating history of St Albans.

“To find another ancient pottery kiln is a wonderful surprise.”

The archaeological work is being managed by Amec Foster Wheeler, on behalf of Cadent, and the excavation team is from AOC Archaeology Group, monitored by St Albans Museums team and Historic England.

Senior historic environment consultant for Amec Foster Wheeler, Dr Rachael Townend, said: “This is an excellent example of the benefits of everyone involved in the development process working openly together on an historic environment issue.

“This approach has given us new stories to tell about the Roman city and its people while simultaneously securing an essential service to the people of St Albans today.”

Verulamium Museum exhibits came from excavations by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the 1930s and Sheppard Frere in the 1950s and 60s.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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