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British excavation uncovers wealthy Roman trading town from 300-400 A.D.

British excavation uncovers wealthy Roman trading town from 300-400 A.D.
Archaeologists worked in a remote field in Northamptonshire, Britain, to uncover the wealthy Roman trading town. Photo courtesy HS2 Ltd/Twitter

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Archaeologists have discovered out how an Iron Age settlement became a wealthy Roman trading town during an excavation in Britain, officials said.

Among the remains discovered in Northamptonshire in Britain's East Midlands were more than 300 Roman coins along a wide road, indicating significant commerce and wealth.

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The wealthy town emerged from an Iron Age settlement of more than 30 roundhouses, with new stone buildings and roads built in the Roman era, around 300-400 A.D.

Eighty archaeologists have been working in the remote field near Chipping Warden village, which lies on the route of the HS2 rail network that's under construction between London and Birmingham.

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Along with the coins and domestic stone buildings, archaeologists also unearthed industrial buildings, at least four wells, jewelry, glass containers, fine pottery and traces of the mineral galena, which experts say was used for makeup.

In the industrial part, archaeologists discovered a bright red spot, indicating it was used for areas involving burning, such as metal-work factories, bread-making or other types of ovens. They also found half a set of shackles believed to suggest criminal activity or slave labor.

The archaeological site is known as the Blackgrounds because of the dense black soil found there that helped preserve the remains.

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Site manager James West of Mola Headland Infrastructure, which has been excavating the site, said the site was used for pasture prior to the dig, which also helped with preservation.

"When the land became used for grazing, the soil effectively sealed what was beneath," West told The Guardian.

The site is one of more than 100 that archaeologists have examined along the HS2 route since 2018. West, though, says it stands out from the rest as "one of the most impressive."

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