What have archaeologists in Shepton dug up?
FOR six weeks archaeologists have been scouring land at Gore End Farm in Shepton Mallet.
The excavation of the massive plot has led to much speculation that a Roman road or a Bronze age burial ground have been discovered.
This week the team from Context One Archaeological Services Ltd have announced the result of their work so far.
And they admitted that they have found nothing of great importance despite earlier predictions.
Context One are carrying out the dig on behalf of Bloor Homes and B&R Thorner.
The works are being carried out in response to planning conditions placed on a new development.
In 2012 Bloor Homes submitted an application for almost 100 new homes in an estate to be named Shepton Grange.
Archaeologists at the time said the fields were first used thousands of years ago by a thriving Bronze Age community – who laid to rest the cremated remains of their loved ones in a mass burial chamber on the site.
Somerset archaeologist Peter Leach provisionally examined the area in 2008 and said last year: “This type of site was the focus for deposition of cremated human remains placed in pottery urns or sometimes unaccompanied, within a mound, in its surrounding ditch or beneath the existing ground surface.
“There may be several tens or exceptionally over 100 burials at one site, and the reuse of an earlier Bronze Age barrow burial site is not uncommon.”
Developers suggested that prior to the development the site could be excavated and the human remains – which archaeologists believe could have numbered in the dozens – removed and studied.
The planning application was approved following appeal with the condition that no works should be undertaken until there had been a programme of archaeological work, to ensure that features of archaeological importance were recorded before their destruction or concealment.
Context One began work on the site in August, but despite high hopes have found nothing of great importance.
A spokesman for Context One said: “To date the site has revealed surprisingly little archaeology.
“A post-medieval ‘garden soil’ horizon is spread sparsely across the whole of the site and this contains a small amount of abraded pottery shards, brick and tile fragments and clay tobacco pipes. All of these finds date to the post-medieval period (c. 1700AD – 1800AD)
“A series of small stone quarrying pits have been recorded on the eastern side of the site.
“No finds were recovered from any of the quarry pits, however similar pits in the vicinity have been attributed to the Roman period, in association with the nearby Fosse Way Roman Road.”
Archaeological works will continue on site until all of the topsoil has been removed which may take a couple more weeks.