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Archaeology visit

Corby Business Academy was extremely pleased to once again welcome the award-winning Paddy Lambert from Oxford Archaeology. His inspirational, funny and fact filled talk kept our Year 7, Unit  and Sixth Form students enthralled. Thank you also to master developer Urban&Civic for funding this talk. Students were amazed and fascinated to discover that there is a whole secret world hidden under the Priors Hall Development and the houses that they now live in.

Between 2019 and 2021 prior to the development of building on the Priors Hall Estate, Paddy Lambert and his international team of top archaeologists meticulously excavated what turned out to be a remarkable Roman settlement. A sizeable Iron Age settlement was discovered, but it was the Roman ruins that turned out to be an incredible find. It was so impressive that it won the team “Rescue Project of the Year” award at the Current Archaeology awards.

The extremely well-preserved road, complete with elaborately buried skeleton, showed the importance of Corby as a manufacturing and trading hub, with the road thought to link Kettering and Great Casterton and form part of the famous Watling Street network. A large Roman villa, so close to the Weldon Villa, was unexpected. However, the greatest find was that in the 1st or 2nd century AD a temple/mausoleum was constructed. This temple/mausoleum was later converted into a tile kiln and a second tile kiln, a lime kiln and six pottery kilns. This find was unique in the world.

Paddy brought to life the Roman period with stories of the gods and goddesses, isotope analysis of teeth, paw prints of massive XL-Bully-type dogs and cats wandering across wet tiles, dolphin handles and sugar spoons and strange animal sacrifices. We even saw the graffiti of a young boy tile-maker, who scrawled ‘Nenti made this’ on his less than perfect efforts. The dig, unlike those that often focus on the rich in villas gave an incredible insight into the lives of ordinary Romans.

Assistant Principal Heather Thompson, commented ‘Paddy was brilliant, I learnt so much’. Sixth Former and History student Scarlett said, ‘The talk was incredibly interesting and inspirational. It gave me a unique insight into careers that we may not even know exist. It let me see opportunities around the world and the jobs that I could be doing. I had no idea that the Roman era could be so fascinating.’ Dr. Rowe asked Year 7 to applaud Paddy if they had enjoyed the talk. They lifted the roof of the theatre with their cheers.