Melton Mowbray Distributor Road Scheme

Archaeologist with Roman brooch © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Pottery beaker © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023
Aerial view of excavation in progress © Copyright ARS Ltd 2023

Since late February 2023, Archaeological Research Services Ltd (ARS Ltd) has been investigating archaeological remains exposed during topsoil stripping on the route of the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road Scheme on behalf of Leicestershire County Council. This phase of work follows on from earlier phases of geophysical survey and trial trenching undertaken for the Scheme between 2018 – 2022.

What are we expecting to find?

We’re expecting to uncover the buried remains of a series of identified archaeological sites, which are likely to represent individual farmsteads and/or their related agricultural boundaries and enclosures dating back to at least the Iron Age and Roman period. This will add to numerous other archaeological discoveries that have been made in recent years around Melton Mowbray as the town has grown. Flint artefacts of Mesolithic to Bronze Age date, as well as Neolithic and Early–Middle Bronze Age funerary sites, were discovered on the west/south-western side of Melton Mowbray, which indicate occupation by both hunter-gatherer and early farming communities during the 6th-2nd millennium BC. The previous phases of archaeological fieldwork produced later evidence for farming settlements in the Iron Age and Roman periods on the northern and eastern outskirts, beneath masking deposits of medieval ridge and furrow produced by agricultural activity on the periphery of the medieval town.

What has come to light so far?

We have been excavating a series of discrete sites, comprising boundary ditches and pits containing fragments of pottery, animal bone and other domestic debris representing the remains of Late Iron Age/Roman farmsteads and their associated field systems. A single Bronze Age barrow ring ditch and burial has also been recorded.

The current work is confirming the anticipated picture of a dynamic prehistoric and Roman farming landscape.

As work continues, we’ll be posting updates from the site. You can find the first one here.

Archaeological Research Services Ltd