The Berkhamsted and District Archaeological Society started excavations at Cow Roast in 1972. Work continued for four years in an orchard near the Cow Roast Inn, then for three years at the Marina and then later on land adjacent to the Cow Roast Inn.
The site is that of a Romano-British settlement, which grew up alongside Akeman Street, a Roman Road running from St Albans via Tring to Cirencester, that now follows part of the A41. Remains have also been found on the hillside to the north of the Marina, showing that the settlement spread out from as well as along the Roman road.
The site is now scheduled as an Ancient Monument under the protection of English Heritage and is designated as a Roman town.
The Dacorum Heritage Trust asked for funds to conserve four Roman pots from the archaeological excavation that took place in 1972 and, which, have been in storage since the original dig. The pots were reconstructed soon after their discovery in the 1970s. This was one of the reasons why they were deteriorating as the material used to reconstruct them had become brittle over time.
Some of the more interesting features of the pots that the Trust wanted to conserve included decorative indents that had been made by the maker’s thumb. There were also other finger marks made by the maker that were imprinted at the base of two of the pots.
One pot, named ‘The Hunt Cup’, has a brown colouring, which is quite unusual on this type of ware. Work was also required on another pot, in order to conserve its rare hand-painted decoration.
The work that the Museum of London carried out on the pots was excellent and all four pots were on show at The Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre and then at Tring Local History Museum.
After conservation Dacorum Heritage Trust was successful in obtaining funding from SHARE Museums East ‘Collections Care Grant’ to purchase custom made mounts from Dauphin for all four pots.