To mark the completion of the new 3.9km-long A120 bypass north of Little Hadham, Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire County Council and Arup organised a celebration event in December 2021, illustrating the project’s success and showcasing the archaeology found by Cotswold Archaeology during road construction works.
Beginning in 2016 and working alongside GRAHAM Construction, archaeological investigations uncovered evidence for an actively managed and farmed landscape dating to the Roman period (AD 50 to 350). Over 10,000 pottery sherds, various metal artefacts including coins (narrowly dating to AD 330 to 350) and the foundations of a drying oven were found, all perhaps associated with a Roman settlement that probably existed somewhere just outside of the road development area.
Caroline Adams and Jo Barker from Cotswold Archaeology attended the celebration event at Little Hadham Village Hall, where they explained the archaeological works associated with the road scheme, and showcased some of the discoveries, including environmental remains like the charred seeds of barley, wheat and oats, indicating the common crops that were processed in the drying oven found on site. Around 150 people attended the event and were excited to learn about the site’s archaeology and to have the opportunity to see a range of recovered artefacts dating to around 2,000 years ago. The village lies on the route of a busy thoroughfare that originally ran between the Iron Age and Roman settlements of St. Albans (Verulamium) and Colchester (Camulodunum), connecting to a wider network of settlements. The event helped to inform the public about the importance of the archaeology of the road scheme in its local and wider context.
As part of the celebrations, the new bypass, planned to ease traffic congestion in the village and incorporating new flood alleviation measures, was opened for the first time to 500 locals and project stakeholders to walk, run or cycle the route.