Fieldwork: Metal Detection

The site was initially discovered by Mr Dave Derby and Mr Steve Pulley in 1996 during the course of a metal detecting survey of the fields surrounding Whitehall Farm in the parish of Nether Heyford. A significant spread of coins, pottery and building material on the south eastern slope of a plateau over looking the Weedon Road suggested an extensive area of occupation in the Romano - British period. The site is one of several enigmatic Roman settlements identified in the area adjacent to Watling Street and forms part of a larger regional landscape distribution of sites circumscribed by the Roman small towns of Whilton Lodge (Bannaventa), Towcester (Lactodorum) and Duston. Situated at approximately 120m OD the underlying geology is comprised of Northampton Sand and Ironstone interspersed with Glacial Sand and Gravel.

Several seasons of metal detecting have enabled a list of nearly a 150 coins to be constructed for the site. The types of coins retrieved are dominated by 3rd and 4th century examples, particularly the House of Constantine with the latest examples of coinage being represented by the house of Theodosius which were in circulation post 388 AD. Indeed the range of emperors and coin types represented is very similar to other rural sites located in Northamptonshire and reflects the market based economy involved and the inflationary pressures of the later empire. However a bronze coin of Iron Age date and attributed to the
reign of Cunobelin and coins of 2nd century emperors like Trajan and Hadrian have also been located. Further important finds have been recovered including fragments of a series of bronze brooches known to be of a Ist to early 2nd century date and a small highly decorated pewter bowl which most likely was produced in the 4th century AD. The quality and quantity of the finds has provided valuable supportive evidence in the interpretation of the fieldwalked material.

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