PCA excavations at Lucy Cavendish College have found the course of Roman Akeman Street.
The site lies on the edge of the Roman walled town, in the location that Ordnance Survey and other previous reconstructions of the Roman town layout had projected the line of the road. Akeman Street led from Cambridge (Duroliponte) to the Roman ‘small town’ at Arrington Bridge on Ermine Street, 15km south-west, and appeared in our excavations as a thick gravel spread with a ditch on one side.
A horizon of dark earth covering the site suggests a suburban area on the edge of the Roman town, primarily used for intensive ‘market garden’ cultivation. This deposit contained copious quantities of Roman hearth waste and midden material, as well as an abundance of Roman pottery, metalwork and 3rd– to 4th-century coins. Other finds include remains of gravel yard surfaces and a group of four c. 3rd-century inhumation burials. A very well-preserved iron cooking pot was recovered from one Roman rubbish pit, seen here with X-rays of the metal vessel before micro-excavation.
“I am not surprised at these finds, but very excited as it contributes to our good but patchy knowledge of the Roman town and everyday life of the time.”Dr Corinne Duhig, Director of Studies in Archaeology, Lucy Cavendish College
The excavations, undertaken on behalf of Orion Heritage and Bidwells ahead of Lucy Cavendish College’s new eco-friendly student accommodation development, are ongoing. Post-excavation work is underway, with excavation and analysis of the cooking pot taking place back in the lab. Our full report will be published in PCAS in due course.