Experts from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)’s Northampton team have spent several weeks at the field in Midland Road, which is set to become a new community of 94 houses.
Senior project manager Adam Yates explained that following removal of topsoil, the team have been methodically excavating and recording the archaeological remains by hand.
“We’ve found more than we expected to,” he said. “We’ve discovered that there was a settlement here in medieval times; there are paddocks and enclosures from 1100 onwards, with other buildings probably dating from the later medieval period.”
Members of the public were invited to the site last week to see the findings for themselves, and were given guided tours to see where the buildings would have stood. Amongst these is at least one building which surprised the archaeologists due to the quality of its construction.
MOLA’s project officer Jon Elston, who is leading the team, explained: “It’s stone-built and was clearly very well-made, probably in the 1400s or 1500s. We think it might have been associated with a high status residence which would have stood nearby.”
Other highlights for the archaeological team have been the foundations of what might have been a tannery, plus fragments of horse harnesses and metal knives used for whittling. Pieces of an earthenware jug and other pottery were also found, with some even featuring the thumb marks of those who made them.
All of the items will now be analysed by experts to piece together more accurate timeframes, and to create a clearer vision of how all the findings fit together. They will then be archived before possibly going on display to the public, whilst a report on the results of the excavations will be published.
Pauline Williams, Raunds resident and former town mayor, was amongst the visitors to the guided tour. She said: “It was very good, very informative. My late neighbour wrote a book about the history of Raunds and would have loved to have seen this.
“Kier Living Eastern, their groundworkers JJ Mac and MOLA have been so good with us while this work has been going on – I even took them a batch of home-made cookies to say thank you!”
Nick Moore, Kier Living Eastern managing director, said: “MOLA have done an absolutely sterling job on the dig at Midland Road and we’ve been fascinated by their findings. We’re glad that the rich history of this site will be preserved for the future, and now look forward to starting building work on this fantastic new community.”
Once the archaeological dig has been completed, work will begin on Kier’s 94 houses, which will be a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. For more information, visit www.tiliahomes.co.uk, where you can see a video of the archaeological open day at the site.