Briefing given to the Scrutiny Committee

Press release from St Albans District Council

Councillors on the Scrutiny Committee (*see below) heard about interesting discoveries recorded in the archaeological survey, which is taking place on the site of Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre, and how they will be sensitively preserved in situ as part of the development scheme.

Cllr Beric Read, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny commented: “We heard that the Roman, quasi-industrial site was probably a mill. It’s a reminder of our very extensive and often hidden heritage and increases the importance of Verulamium as a site that still has much to teach us. Further investigations will take place on site in the next few months.”

The main features found in the trenches include a Roman building, tentatively thought to be a mill, which appears to have been partially demolished in Roman or medieval periods, with the building materials quite possibly being reused in buildings such as the Abbey. In addition, a ditch has been found close by which could be interpreted as a ‘leat’, or artificial aqueduct dug into the ground, which could have fed the mill. Preliminary dating of these features is 2nd and 3rd century AD. Evidence suggests that the building may have had painted walls and a solid concrete floor. Other finds include prehistoric flints possibly dating from the late Mesolithic to early Neolithic periods, circa 4,000 BC, and late medieval pottery.

These finds will be preserved in situ as they are in an area of the new development that will be soft landscaped, so there is no threat to them.

Also two pits and various layers of archaeological deposits from the Roman period have been found in the area where the new Leisure Centre Development will be located. The District Archaeologist has therefore requested additional investigative work be carried out and all findings be recorded.

A photographic survey and assessment will also be made of a hut, which is on the site designated for development, and may have belonged to a temporary POW transit camp.

Most of the known archaeology is located towards the Holywell Hill entrance into Verulamium Park and will not be affected by the leisure centre development.

Member contact:
Cllr Beric Read, Chair of Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services)
St Albans City and District Council
Mobile : 07956 220264

Contact for the press:
Davina Mansell, information and communication officer
Tel: 01727 819316 E-mail: davina.mansell@stalbans.gov.uk
St Albans City and District Council
www.stalbans.gov.uk

Notes:
*Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services) Committee
See the Council’s website for more information about Overview and Scrutiny, how topics are chosen, what powers the committee has and details of meetings:-
http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/Overview-and-Scrutiny/

This page was added by Brian Bending on 25/02/2010.

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