Ten years ago English Heritage carried out a major archaeological excavation to discover more about the significant Roman villa complex at Groundwell Ridge which had been purchased from housing developers to prevent its destruction.
The important historical site was unexpectedly discovered in 1996 by a digger driver. House building stopped immediately for geophysical and trench investigations which resulted in it being protected as a Scheduled Monument.
During a five week project in 2004 school children and scouts learnt about digs and the public were able to watch the archaeologists at work from a raised viewing platform.
Large quantities of Roman building materials were uncovered, such as tiles, bricks and roofing slates, as well as coins and a plaque featuring a Roman goddess. The key find was a well preserved villa bath suite, complete with plunge pool lined with waterproof tiles.
The site was covered by sand and turf as protection and interpretation boards explaining the significance of the site were erected on Hamstead Way and on St Andrew’s Ridge.
English Heritage wrote a booklet about the site, which is available in Central Library, and also a scientific report available at: bit.ly/EHGR04report