1st December 2021:

Oxford Archaeology East’s excavation of a Romano-Celtic temple-mausoleum and evidence for late Roman industrial activity has been nominated for Rescue Project of the Year in the prestigious 2022 Current Archaeology Awards.

The excavation was featured on the cover of issue 370 of Current Archaeology magazine in January 2021. Author of the article and the Project Officer who ran the excavation at Priors Hall in Corby, Paddy Lambert, says “We are delighted with the nomination and our warmest thanks go to the team at Current Archaeology for thinking of us. This wonderful and evocative site is a wonder of Romano-British archaeology, and this nomination is a testament to the hard work of all of the OA East team, Urban&Civic, and all of those that facilitated this incredible project."

The winners of the Current Archaeology Awards are entirely decided by votes made by the public. Voting is open until 7th February 2022. You can cast your vote on the CA website here now: https://archaeology.co.uk/vote

Here are our top five reasons why you should vote for Priors Hall, Corby:

  1. We uncovered a previously unknown and nationally rare type of Romano-British temple-mausoleum. This was a large high-status stone-built funerary structure linked to an adjacent villa.
  2. This building later underwent a dramatic transformation into a large tile and pottery manufactory, when a new villa was built. The scale and intensity of production was vast - we found over ten tonnes of waste brick and tiles!
  3. The level of preservation has given an unprecedented insight into the industrial processes and scale of natural resources required to build a Roman villa. Until now, research has largely focused on the domestic buildings and agricultural activities rather than the specialist industrial trades attached to villa estates.
  4. The finds bring to life the lives of the workers who built the villa. An iron tool used by one of the Roman potters was found outside a kiln entrance and an inscribed tile bears part of the name of one of the tilers who worked on the site.
  5. The dedication and enthusiasm of the team involved was exceptional. They dug the site during very wet and challenging conditions. Not only did they dig it to a high standard – they did it with a smile!

Paddy Lambert was invited by Current Archaeology to give a talk for the Current Archaeology Live online event earlier this year. You can find out more by watching ‘How do you build a Roman villa?’ on the CA YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/MfV2Zk7Cpbc You can also tour a 3D model of the temple-mausoleum on the OA Sketchfab page here: https://skfb.ly/6WS6D

The OA East team want to dedicate this nomination to the memory of Lesley-Ann Mather (1967-2020), Archaeological Advisor for Northamptonshire County Council. She monitored the excavation and was a hugely supportive and enthusiastic advocate for the importance of this site.