A programme of improvements to the A421 south-west of Bedford provided archaeologists from OA South an opportunity to investigate early settlement along a corridor of the clay landscape of Marston Vale, within the catchment of the River Great Ouse. The results have now been published in a new monograph, The Iron Age and Roman Landscape of Marston Vale, Bedfordshire, by Andrew Simmonds and Ken Welsh.
The majority of the remains uncovered dated from between the middle Iron Age and the late Roman period, and were consistently rural in character, consisting of a series of small farming settlements. The report describes the evolution of settlement within the vale as evidenced by the changes to settlement forms, landscape organisation, economic strategies and material culture brought about by the effects of an increasing population and the imposition of Roman rule. The level of activity declined during the late Roman period, and the remaining settlements were abandoned during the early part of the 4th century.