The mysterious Lutudarum, headquarters of the Romano-British leadsmelting industry may at long last have been found—near Carsington, in Derbyshire. The name Lutudarum has long been known not only from the Ravenna Cosmography but also from a number of lead pigs stamped with the name of the mines at Lutudarum. However the site hitherto has defied identification, but extensive excavations on two sites half a mile apart at Shiningford farm, near Carsington, 3 miles west of Wirksworth have revealed an extensive Romano-British settlement that is presumably to be identified at Lutudarum.
The site was discovered by Martin Wildgoose in the course of field walking in advance of the new reservoir being erected at Carsington by the Severn Trent Water Authority. This field walking revealed extensive pottery, tile and building stone debris, and Terry Courtney of the North Derbyshire Archaeological Trust carried out a preliminary excavation in November 1979. His trial trenches revealed parts of a rectangular stone footed building, and the Trust then launched a rescue programme jointly funded by the DoE and the Severn Trent Water Authority. The Universities of Leicester, Manchester and Sheffield were called in to excavate on two sites in the summer of 1980.
Two sites 800 yards apart were chosen for excavation which between them pointed up an interesting moral for the problems of rescue excavation. The joint Sheffield and Leicester teams under Professor Keith Branigan and Scott Anderson chose what appeared to be by far the biggest site where field walking had revealed a very extensive scatter of pottery and masonry material. But alas! the very ploughing that had revealed the pottery had also virtually destroyed the site especially as it
Above: The main excavation site at Carsington, the Roman lead-smelting centre of Lutudarum. Most of the remains have been ploughed away.
Below: The well-preserved hall building that lay half a mile from the main site. It is not quite grand enough to be a 'villa': is there some grander administrative building in the vicinity?
Photo by courtesy of Sheffield Newspapers.