13th November 2019:

The remains of a wooden basket, chickens’ eggs and a bridge, all dating to the Roman period, are just some of the extraordinary discoveries made at Berryfields near Aylesbury and described in a new book published by Oxford Archaeology

Archaeological excavations carried out between 2007 and 2016 uncovered the remains of a middle Iron Age settlement and the agricultural hinterland of the putative nucleated Roman settlement of Fleet Marston, situated on the major Roman road of Akeman Street.

The volume describes the results of the fieldwork and analysis of an exceptional range of the artefactual and environmental evidence, much of it having been ritually deposited into a waterlogged pit in the late Roman period. 

One of four Roman chickens' eggs found at Berryfields

The book also presents evidence for a long-lived late prehistoric territorial boundary, Roman malting and brewing and other roadside trades and crafts, and funerary activity, comprising roadside burials and a possible pyre site. It also reveals the importance of livestock, especially horses, in the middle Iron Age and Roman economies.

Crucially, the volume draws on the findings of the analysis to shed light on the character of Roman Fleet Marston, which hitherto has been known only from chance finds. Evidence from Berryfields and other sites in the area shows that over time, Fleet Marston found itself at the intersection of several routeways that took travellers into the countryside and on to major towns. Its position at this important crossroads, together with hundreds of coins and other finds, potentially identifies the settlement as a market-place or administrative centre with extensive trade connections, a role that would be continued in Aylesbury in the medieval period and into modern times.

The book is available to purchase from Oxbow Books. Click here for more details.