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Arbury Archaeology & History Part 3: Roman Villa Discovered In North Arbury Field - And Much More...

What particularly fascinates us about the Arbury habitations is the close proximity of the developments - Iron Age and Roman. These provided part of the impetuous for the 'Arbury 1980' primary schools' project and the 1981 book 'Arbury Is Where We Live!' Part of the earthwork outline, which gave rise to the Arbury name, can still be seen in the course of Ring Fort Road at Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park). King's Hedges, of course, is north of the guided busway, a fifty-eight acre farm.

Archaeologists had an immensely exciting find in a North Arbury barley field in the late 1960s. The field, previously part of the old Manor Farm and, before that, the Arbury/Harborough Meadows, was awaiting development, including King's Hedges School - which actually isn't in the historic King's Hedges area, but in the old Arbury Meadows. 

A Roman villa was discovered - apparently ten-roomed, and boasting an underfloor heating system!

But more was to come: further digs revealed other phases of occupation, dating back, it was thought, to the early Iron Age.

The North Arbury barley field discoveries prompted the name of the road - Northfield Avenue.

Below is the 1969 Cambridge News article reporting on the finds in its entirety - it makes fascinating reading. Click on image, then right click, then click on 'open image in new tab' for a readable view, and download if required.

Below: 1900 map of the Arbury district showing fields at the Manor Farm. We have inserted the Guided busway site and Arbury Court for orientation purposes!

Below: the 1900 map again showing the area of the excavations in the historic Arbury district, north and south of Arbury Road. Note: until the late 1970s, Arbury Road ran from Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road.

Below: is the course of Arbury Road based on an ancient iron age track? Habitations in the historic Arbury district, of course, pre-date the origins of Chesterton (which seems an odd thought!).

More Arbury Archaeology and history soon as we examine the reports of archaeologists from Arbury Camp in 1970.


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