Marton to Acomb Landing Archaeological Excavation

East Riding of Yorkshire

Client

Yorkshire Water

Services

Excavation

Finds

Consultancy

Dere Street, the Roman road leading to Hadrian’s Wall and Scotland, ran north-west from York before turning north towards Aldborough, Catterick and the frontier. In 2008–9, construction of a new water pipeline by Yorkshire Water, which ran parallel to the modern A59 between Marton and Acomb Landing to the north-west of York, provided the opportunity to identify the precise course of the Roman road, and excavations were undertaken by NAA in advance of construction work. Remains of the road were found in four locations, demonstrating that the modern A59 closely follows the earlier alignment, except for at the crossing of the River Nidd, where the modern road bridge lies slightly to the north of the earlier Roman bridging point. Where better preserved, the road was shown to be 7m wide and flanked by ditches. It had been constructed of cobble and gravel layers and built on a layer of organic material, probably brushwood. 

On the west bank of the Nidd, near the modern village of Green Hammerton, excavations at Pool Lane revealed the remains of part of a previously unknown Roman roadside settlement, which extended over an area of at least 5 hectares. Geophysical survey showed that a series of enclosures flanked either side of the road, containing domestic structures and other features. Within the narrow strip of the settlement examined during the construction works, the earlier Roman period was represented by a possible side road and three timber roundhouses. Evidence for the later Roman period (3rd–4th centuries AD) included another roundhouse, two rectangular timber buildings, together with ditches, gullies, pits, postholes and a kiln containing charred cereal grains that had probably been used for drying crops. A single cremation burial contained the remains of an adult along with hobnails from footwear and a colour-coated Nene Valley beaker of 3rd- or 4th-century date.

Two more kilns had been used to fire Dales-type pottery jars made in a gritty greyware fabric. These kilns appear to have formed part of a small-scale, dispersed, rural industry. Very little is known about pottery production in this part of Yorkshire in the late 3rd and 4th centuries, and the discoveries at Green Hammerton represent a valuable contribution to our understanding of the local industry at this time.

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