Ancient road found beneath new town in Devon

  • In Business
  • 2023-02-05 09:10:20Z
  • By BBC

Archaeological investigators have found evidence of an ancient road, Bronze Age homes and Roman farmsteads on the site of a new town in Devon.

Last year, the team at Sherford found "Ice Age megafauna" including mammoth, rhino and wolf remains.

Now experts have discovered the area was also a "key route" for human communities thousands of years ago.

Rob Bourn of Orion Heritage said the latest finds were "fascinating".

He added: "Enhancing our understanding of not just Devon, but also Britain's ancient history, the archaeological work at Sherford continues to be fascinating.

"We are thrilled to work on these important historic investigations, and hope the findings at Sherford help to encourage everyone to take an interest in local history and secrets under the soil."

The "probable Roman road" runs across the site of Sherford Business Park, which lies partly within the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport.

Experts from from Orion Heritage and AC Archaeology believe it provides evidence of the site having been a "crucial link" for trade and connecting "ancient communities".

Its crushed slate surface and "visible" drainage points reflect construction methods of the time, they said.

Other uncovered artefacts shine a light on different periods of history.

These include roundhouse postholes, which are circular family homes made of natural materials, indicating the area was a "thriving place of activity" in the Bronze Age (2700 - 700 BC).

Pottery, dating back to 1500 BC, was also uncovered.

Meanwhile square enclosures were once home to farmsteads during the Roman period and there is evidence of flint tools.

The Sherford Consortium said findings would, where possible, be removed, analysed and preserved with a view to put them on public display.

The Sherford project to create 5,500 homes, plus shops, businesses, leisure facilities, schools, parks and woodland began in 2015.

Archaeological investigations, funded by a consortium of developers at Sherford and in coordination with Devon County Council, have been taking place since then.

Peter Sadler of the Sherford Consortium, said the road discovery showed the area to be a "key route for travel and trade between local families and communities thousands of years ago."

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