Excavating a Roman Town at Sandy, Bedfordshire

Between April and October 2018, archaeologists from AOC’s London office excavated a Roman settlement in Sandy, Bedfordshire. Our investigations have uncovered the edge of Sandy’s substantial Roman town including the foundations of a town wall, which was made from local iron stone bound by mortar. Significantly, this is the first Roman town wall to have been excavated in Bedfordshire and it presented a surprise for the excavators, as no evidence previously existed for a Roman town wall in this location.

Within the area enclosed by the town wall we have revealed property boundaries, an industrial zone and many pits filled with household waste, such as animal bones and pottery. Outside the town wall, we discovered a funeral pyre, used to cremate the town’s dead. Cremated remains were also found, buried in graves along with fine ceramic vessels. Evidence of Saxon occupation after the end of Roman governance was also discovered outside the town’s walls, in the form of a Saxon house at the edge of the site (below, right).

A linear feature has been interpreted as a Roman road leading into the town and runs parallel to the modern road passing the site. Further analysis of the finds from the site will allow us to form detailed interpretations of what life was like in Roman Sandy.

Below, L-R: a Roman bone pin; the site during excavation; traces of a Saxon house

Sandy montage