Excavation close to Roman basilica

St Michael's C of E Voluntary Aided School

The following report briefly records the outcome of a small excavation undertaken close to the Roman basilica but outside the city walls, to the north east of Verulamium

Between the 12 and 15 July 2017 Oxford Archaeology East carried out a small excavation in advance of an extension being added to the mid-19th century St Michael’s Infant School in St Albans. A small north-west, south-east trench was excavated to the south-west of the school building and close to the assumed course of the Verulamium to Camulodunum (Colchester) road.

Although only 1m wide the trench was excavated to a depth of 2.2m. The lower extent of the trench provided evidence of extra-mural Roman building foundations with associated layers that contained a late Roman coin, pottery, glass, ceramic building material and mortar. Buried soils and pits dating to the Roman period were also recorded to the north-west end of the trench.

Medieval and post-medieval activity

The Roman archaeology was sealed by medieval and post-medieval layers which probably relate to the Bell inn (see SAHAAS Newsletter no. 203 p. 20) and subsequent maltings that once stood on the site. Finds of pottery, stamped clay pipe and large amounts of roof tile were recorded in these upper layers.

The overburden within the area of the new extension was removed to a depth of approximately 0.30m. This provided further evidence of post-medieval activity on the site in the form of truncated surfaces and dumps of possibly heated material

James Fairbairn, Oxford Archaeology

[an edited version of an article from Newsletter 1711]