Who would have thought that Bedford was home to possibly one of the finest Roman villas in Britain?
Archaeologists have found the site of a Roman villa complex just north of Bedford's town centre.
Trial excavations on Manton Lane have uncovered the remains of very high-status Roman buildings with lavish stucco plasterwork decoration that is so far unique in Britain, and extremely rare in Western Europe outside of Roman Italy.
Found under an already historic Medieval 'ridge and furrow' field, experts were alerted when building works at a nearby school uncovered Roman pottery and floor surfaces.
Archaeological finds suggest that the building was richly decorated and that the owner must have been of significant wealth and even political importance.
For more details on the finds see The Story so Far...
This site has already been recognised as being of both national and international significance, and helps rewrite the history of Roman Britain.
The evaluation phase has been carried out with the goodwill of professional archaelogists and community volunteers, all donating their time for free.
Money is currently being raised for a larger-scale excavation with full-time expert involvement. The minimum fundraising target of £10,000 for this year's dig has almost been reached, which means that it is now likley further work will be carried out in September 2016.
However, in order to carry on this important project, researching Bedford's significant Roman past, into subsequent years, and to ensure the funds are available to undertake all the scientific post-excavation work required (including the laboratory anaylsis, cataloging and conservation of finds) the Bedford Roman Villa Project needs further donations.
This will also enable us to make public the results in a comprehensive published report.
We are therefore seeking sponsorship, and would welcome donations, whether large or small.
If you could help, please visit our Contacts Page.
Stone walls showing the 'herring bone' design, uncovered at Manton Lane, probably dating back to 2nd century AD
An example of a Roman Estate Manager and visiting General inspecting grain supplies for the army