Roman leadworks found in Flintshire

An exciting Roman find has been unearthed at a major building development in Flintshire.

Work on Anwyl Construction’s Croes Atti project near Flint has uncovered important remains giving a clue to Roman settlements in North East Wales almost 2000 years ago.

The find includes a well-preserved section of Roman road, pottery, buildings and evidence of an industrial complex processing lead and silver mined at nearby Halkyn Mountain.

Andy Davies, Anwyl Construction Technical Director, said: “We have experience of finding Roman remains in the past and we had a watching brief on the site.

“We uncovered the Roman remains quite early in the work. We stripped the top soil away and found something straight away and we and have been working with local archaeologists since then.

“They believed there were Roman settlements in the area and archaeological work had been done here before but nothing had been found.”

Anwyl, who plan to build over 180 houses on the first phase of the Croes Atti development, are now helping fund the the three-week exploration of the site, along with Cadw, the Welsh historic monuments organisation.

Will Walker, of Earthworks Archaeology, said: “It’s a fabulous find and it’s on our doorstep.

“We have a remarkably well-preserved Roman road in good condition and the site is throwing up all manner of interesting things including a lot of lead which suggests it was connected with the lead workings on Halkyn Mountain.

“The lead – and silver – would have been processed at this site, converted into lead ingots, known as pigs, and probably transported to Chester by barge and would have been used in the building trade for pipes and roofing.

“We’re thrilled with the find and with the way everyone has worked so well together, Anwyl, the ground-workers, ourselves, Flintshire County Council, Cadw and Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust.”

Metal detectors have been used and have discovered large quantities of lead and other finds include high quality Samian ware pottery, made in Gaul – now southern France – and exported all over the Roman Empire.

They have also found the probable corner of structure by the roadside with an internal clayey/pebbly floor and associated burnt beams and post holes, more pottery including a lead-rivet repaired orangeware vessel.

Leigh Dodds, Principal Archaeologist with Earthworks Archaeology, said: “A large building was excavated further down the road back in the 1970s and that may have been the home of the procurator, the Roman official in charge of this settlement.

“But nothing had been found in this area but there is clear evidence of a settlement with buildings either side of the Roman road.

“There has also been high class Samian ware pottery, probably made in what is now Central France but was then  the Roman province of Gaul, and even pieces of stone, basically furnace slag with traces of lead which show that this was an industrial site processing lead ore.

“We should be able to find out a lot more information about the site over the three weeks we are here but it is certainly a very exciting and interesting site.”

Steve Suddick, Development Engineer for Anwyl, said: “We started work on the site last week, carrying out ground-works and we started uncovering the Roman remains within a day or two.

“We are able to carry on with work on another part of the site so the archaeological investigation can go on here as well so we are working well with them and it’s certainly interesting for us as well and we’ll be monitoring work elsewhere on the site to see if anything crops up.”

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