The earliest settlements in the Bradford on Avon area were on the top of the hillside to the north of the town. The Iron Age Budbury Hill Fort covered some six acres and was protected by steep escarpments. It provided a strategic view over the forested slopes and the marshy river valley.
Roman artefacts such as pottery and coins have for many years been found around this plateau. An aerial survey in 2000 revealed plans of building on the playing fields of St Laurence school.
Excavations in 2002 and 2003 revealed a substantial Roman villa probably built in the mid 3rd century A.D. with continuing occupation and modification until the 5th century. The villa contained important mosaics and a rare example of an early Christian chapel or baptistry within one of the rooms. Also remarkable was the second buidling on the same plane as the villa but used for workshops, a granary and other industrial purposes linked to the agricultural estate of the villa.
Photos and postcards of the findings are available in the town and plans are being made for a more permanent exhibition.