20/10/2020

PREHISTORIC AND ROMAN SETTLEMENT UNEARTHED AT SITE OF NEW SOMERTON HOMES DEVELOPMENT

Evidence of an extensive Roman rural settlement believed to date back as far as the 1st Century AD has been uncovered on the site of a new homes development in Somerton. The findings, discovered on the site of the new Bloor Homes Somerton Mead development on land north of Bancombe Road, were excavated and studied by experts at Cotswold Archaeology. Among the artefacts uncovered were an iron blacksmith’s hammer, iron cleaver, large quantities of pottery, tweezers, brooches, coins and Kimmeridge shale bracelet fragments.

Evidence of an extensive Roman rural settlement believed to date back as far as the 1st Century AD has been uncovered on the site of a new homes development in Somerton.

The findings, discovered on the site of the new Bloor Homes Somerton Mead development on land north of Bancombe Road, were excavated and studied by experts at Cotswold Archaeology.

Among the artefacts uncovered were an iron blacksmith’s hammer, iron cleaver, large quantities of pottery, tweezers, brooches, coins and Kimmeridge shale bracelet fragments.

Chris Ellis, Senior Project Officer from Cotswold Archaeology, commented: “The Somerton area is known to be archaeologically rich and investigations over the last 50 years have revealed a wealth of evidence for settlement and burials dating from the prehistoric and Roman periods. 

“The findings from the site at Bancombe Road indicate that an extensive Roman rural settlement occupied the land here between the 1st and 4th Century AD.

“We identified a number of features including a stone building, which we believe may have been used as a blacksmith’s workshop owing to the artefacts found here. It may latterly have been used as a lambing shed as we found signs of a construction of small, separate internal bays, as well as a droveway which would have been used for moving livestock from one place to another.

“In a second area, we identified a ring-ditch – a circular trench – which probably served as a drainage gully for a roundhouse, which would have been a typical form of housing at the time, which we date somewhere between Middle to Late Iron Age, around 400BC to AD43. The ring-ditch is very similar to eight others excavated at the local authority school site 100 metres to the north of here by Wessex Archaeology.

“The artefacts unearthed here will eventually go to the Castle Museum in Taunton.”

Commenting on the finds at the site where they are building a select development of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, Sara Parker, Sales Director at Bloor Homes South West, said: “It’s always fascinating to discover evidence of how land has been used in the past and how people lived.

“We knew Somerton was a town with a rich history, but it’s always special to unearth finds like this as we embark on construction. 

“The site is nestled in the heart of the Somerset countryside and enjoys picturesque views across the rolling hillside, so it’s easy to see why this part of the country was popular with our prehistoric and Roman ancestors. 

“Somerton is a quintessential Somerset market town, steeped in history and with a good selection of local amenities, including independent shops and eateries. Good road links to Yeovil, Taunton and Bristol make this a popular destination for homeowners looking to live in the countryside and enjoy a better work-life balance, whilst remaining within good commuting distance of work.

“We anticipate homes at the development will be popular, so would encourage anyone interested in owning a home here to register their interest on our website.”

To find out more about Bloor Homes’ developments across the South West, please click here.