Roman settlement found on historic estate

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A Roman settlement brimming with ancient artefacts and human remains has been unearthed on a building site in west London, it was revealed today.

Archaeologists excavating the listed site in Syon Park made the discovery of more than 11,000 Roman items just half a metre below the surface.

They were digging on the plot of land ahead of the construction of a new landmark hotel, which will open the outskirts of the historic Syon Park Estate in 2011.

Around 11,500 fragments of pottery, 100 coins and jewellery were uncovered by the experts from the Museum of London Archaeology, along with burial sites containing human remains and a Roman road.

Jo Lyon, a senior archaeologist at the museum, said today: "We were extremely fortunate to discover such a comprehensive repertoire of Roman finds and features so close to the surface. They tell us a great deal about how the people of this village lived, worked and died.

"The archaeology at Syon Park has given us a valuable, rare insight into the daily life of an agricultural village on the outskirts of Londinium (London) that would have supplied the Roman city and provided shelter for travellers passing through.

"It helps us build a picture of the Roman landscape and shows how the busy metropolis of Londinium connected with the rest of Roman Britain."

The excavations at the Grade I listed site near Brentford were conducted in 2008, but the fascinating discoveries have only now been revealed.

Archaeologists said the Roman settlement had remained remarkably undisturbed for almost 2,000 years and was of local and national significance.

The site revealed a section of one of Roman Britain's most important roads, linking Londinium with the Roman town of Silchester and an ancient tributary of the Thames.

The artefacts found included two shale armlets, fragments of a lava quernstone and a late Bronze Age (1000-700 BC) gold bracelet.

The new hotel, being built by Waldorf Astoria, is set to open on the site next year and is hoping to display some of the historic finds.

The Duke of Northumberland, whose family has held residence at Syon Park for more than 400 years, said: "Syon Park has a rich and remarkable history.

"The Roman findings are an incredible addition to this legacy and emphasise Syon Park's place as a prominent landmark in ancient British history."