Extensive excavations were carried out between 1972 and 1984 at the small, un-walled, Roman town of Ashton, near Oundle, by the Middle Nene Archaeological Group in advance of the building of the Oundle by-pass (A605). The site was first known from a combination of field-walking and air photography which revealed a road system and a complex of buildings and pits and ditches.
The earliest features on the site were a series of Iron Age ditches and compounds which produced coins and high class Iron Age pottery. A military presence is suspected but not proven but first century occupation expanded into the later Roman period and by the third century the settlement probably covered 40 acres.
The early period saw round houses give way to later rectangular, stone walled, workshops which were used for a variety of industrial functions, chief of which was metalworking. A large cemetery was excavated to the south of the main settlement area. The site produced an impressive assemblage of Roman pottery which remains one of the best series of stratified ceramics from the Nene valley.
Another significant find was that of a large lead tank which had links with Christianity and was found down a stone lined well. This tank was removed, conserved and is now housed in the Museum at Peterborough.