Cow Roast (G-B): Pottery excavations

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Cow Roast Pottery is now on display at Hemel Hempstead's Civic Centre. PNL-140820-164818001

Excavations started at Cow Roast back in 1972 and were carried out by the Berkhamsted and District Archaeological Society.

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, near Tring, 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 has a museum store based in a converted fire station in Berkhamsted and currently cares for more than 110,000 objects belonging to local history societies in Dacorum. There are hopes of opening a dedicated museum for the borough in the future.

Following the archaelogical excavation, four Roman pots were reconstructed shortly after their discovery back in the 1970s.

They had been in storage since the original dig.

The material used to reconstruct them had become brittle over time, which was causing the pots to deteriorate.


Some of the more interesting features of the pottery, which 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, 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.

Restoration work was carried out by the Museum of London and the trust was successful in securing funding from SHARE Museums East Collections Care Grant to purchase custom made mounts from Dauphin in France.

All four pots are now on show at Hemel Hempstead’s Civic Centre in Marlowes. They will be there until around November before being put on display at the Tring Local History Museum, The Market Place, off Brook Street.