FRAG went back to the Fane Road allotments for 4 days digging from 17th to 20th May. The primary objective was to understand more about the Roman wall discovered during test pitting in October 2017 (Trench 1). With a great turn-out of volunteers we were also able to open a second trench over a nearby area which had been excavated in 2014 but not to any great depth, and never fully understood (Trench 2).

There were some interesting finds along the way including painted wall plaster, Samian and Nene Valley ware. However, more significant was to try to interpret the layout and use of this area to the south of the main villa building.

Trench 1 revealed the well defined foundations of a significant east-west wall (at right angles to the assumed direction of the wall first glimpsed in 2017!). Both trenches showed significant areas of heating and charcoal remains; these would have been associated with hypocaust heating systems though how these were arranged is still poorly understood.

We hope to return to the area in October 2019 to continue to piece together the jigsaw.

Thanks must go to

  • Fane Road Allotment Association
  • Kay who kindly let us dig on her allotment
  • Peterborough City Council for granting a temporary licence to excavate

We will be publishing an interim report on this excavation and other test pitting work over recent years before we return later in the year.

FRAG excavation - may 2019
Trench 1 was soon down to the rubble interpreted as a north-south wall in 2017


By the end of Sunday Trench 1 was a couple of meters longer with a wall running east-west along its length – and with evidence of heating on either side


FRAG excavation - May 2019
On Monday we created two “sondages” to explore the area of heating between the south of the wall and another section of stone-work which might have been associated with a hypocaust furnace. We found well defined layers down to cornbrash – though with differences between the 2 sections.


FRAG excavation - May 2019
Friday’s work in Trench 2 was to reveal the surface carefully protected with Terram membrane at the end of the 2014 Community Dig


FRAG excavation - May 2019
We went on to extend Trench 2 to 3m long – and to break through the deep layer of burnt material


FRAG Excavation May 2019
Throughout the Dig we did our utmost to protect Kay’s gooseberry bushes!


FRAG Excavation May 2019 Aerial View
A drone-shot helps define the location of our new trenches relative to previous excavations


FRAG Excavation May 2019 Trench 1
Trench 1 from above – Monday 20th May
FRAG excavation May 2019
Back-filling underway. And clear indication of where we will be digging in the future!