HRN1 Dig Finds Ancient Artefacts

Local schools have been helping to dig up the fields around Houghton Regis.

Part of the preparatory works for the massive HRN1 building scheme included several archaeological digs on land adjacent to Sundon Road and South of the Sundon Link road. The dig took almost six months to complete and finished at the end of February 2019.

The findings come from five periods;

  1. Bronze Age (4,000 B.C. to 1,200 B.C), indicated by a series of pits and dispersed burials. During the Bronze Age period, everything from weapons to agricultural tools to hairpins was made with bronze (a copper-tin alloy).
  2. The Iron Age (from around 1,500 B.C) which are the majority of the remains found. Iron is a metal that is harder, stronger and keeps an edge better than bronze and was an ideal material for improving weapons and armour as well as ploughs.
  3. Roman period of occupation (43 to 410 AD), when the area contained a village and a series of farmsteads These were linked by trackways through the surrounding fields. 
  4. Anglo-Saxon (from around the 5th Century AD) when a number of buildings were uncovered.
  5. Medieval period (From 11th century AD to 15th centuryAD) when most of this area was open fields associated with nearby villages. 

HRN1 site: Fields to the north of Tithe Farm. Photo: A D Winter, 2013

Archaeological remains investigated and recorded included: a Bronze Age burial monument, drying ovens, the footprint of a Roman building, water pits and trackway.

Nigel Reid, Development Director for the project said “Several local schools were invited to come and see the archaeological team in action and we were delighted to welcome pupils from Thornhill Primary School, Tithe Farm Primary School and Central Bedfordshire College to view the dig for themselves.”

The Houghton Regis North Site 1 covers 630 acres to the North of Houghton Regis. The scheme is a mixed-use development of up to 5,150 new homes; employment land; 75 hectares of public open space incorporating wildlife corridors, wetland areas, brooks, community gardens and facilities and sports pitches along with 3 primary schools. Works will commence on road construction for the first phase imminently.

Once all of the assessment, analysis and publication work is complete all finds will be deposited locally.

There are already a number of local artefacts, many from Houghton Regis, deposited with the museum in Luton at Stockwood Park, from earlier digs (see LINK ).

More information on this project can be found at

If you have any questions on the archaeological dig or any other queries on the project please call 0800 232 1794 or email