Fascinating Roman and medieval relics discovered at site of future housing development in Parson Drove

A relic found during the excavation

A relic found during the excavation - Credit: Archant

A COLLECTION of Roman and medieval relics have been discovered at a site in Parson Drove.

An excavation has taken place at the site

An excavation has taken place at the site - Credit: Archant

The findings were made by a team of archaeologists at a site being developed by Wisbech-based contractor Foster Property Maintenance (FPM) for housing.

An excavation has taken place at the site

An excavation has taken place at the site - Credit: Archant

Excavators Oxford Archaeology East discovered a round Roman structure and some medieval pits, postholes and ditches, all of which will be preserved.

Matt Drew, Foster Property Maintenance’s project manager, said: “We decided that excavation and recording what was found prior to development would be the best course of action.

“We think we owe it to both the local community and future generations of residents to investigate an interesting piece of local history where this new development will sit.”

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An archaeological evaluation identified an undated ring-shaped feature about 10m in diameter, thought to be a Roman round house, where a family would have lived.

Small amounts of Roman pottery and medieval ditches, pits and pottery were also found.

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These findings led Daniel McConnell, senior archaeologist at Cambridgeshire County Council, to undertake a further excavation.

This found a probable 12th or 13th century fen circle, which is a corn or hay stack, within the centre of the excavation area, with a small gully around it for drainage.

Rob Atkins, Oxford Archaeology East project officer, was excited by the findings.

He said: “These are well known in this part of the Fens from aerial photographs although only a handful have been excavated.

“Other features such as pits were found. Ditches and the remnants of fields were found at the back of the site away from the road frontage.”

The site was abandoned in about the 14th century and it is thought the area reverted to pastoral farming until recent times.

Several hundred pieces of pottery, animal bone and other artefacts are undergoing analysis, which will form the basis of a publication.

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