Explore the early days of Roman Britain at one of the oldest-known settlements north of the Humber
John Fenton has tended his farm, near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, for a lifetime. Over the years, it has produced an extraordinary number of archaeological riches – Roman coins, Anglo-Saxon burials, Bronze Age weapons and even a cache of stone tools. That’s 5,000 years worth of evidence!
So far, John and the detectorists who have made so many of the discoveries have done a marvelous job of keeping all this archaeology safe, and this project has grown out of their exceptionally strong personal commitment to the land’s heritage.
But it’s still a working farm, and with every passing day it becomes more and more important to figure out exactly what archaeology survives and where.
With such a huge and unexplored chunk of history lying just below the surface, more needs to be done, and together we can help them!
In previous years of excavation, we’ve taken an exploratory look at the medieval remains, proving that they’re full of evidence that can help us chart the ebb and flow of life at this well-preserved village.
Then, we made our first foray into the Roman ruins, and found something took us completely by surprise… not only were they very well preserved, they turned out to be some of the earliest ever discovered in the region.
We’ve also explored another area nearby and found hundreds of mosaic tiles, traces of a Roman hypocaust (underfloor heating) system, loads more pottery, and even a beautifully preserved bone hairpin. Together, it all points to the idea that within a few generations, the settlement and its economy had grown large enough to sustain a Roman villa.
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