AN ANCIENT Roman settlement has been unearthed off Ashlawn Road during preparation for a new housing estate.
Excavations at the site have revealed artefacts from a previously-undiscovered 2,000-year old settlement – and evidence of even older human activity dating back to the Bronze Age.
The first human activity on the site is likely to date back to the Bronze Age, but it was most actively used in the late Iron Age and early Roman period, when it appears to have been a focus for pottery production.
Archaeologists discovered a ‘pit alignment’ – thought to be an early form of dividing up land – which dates back to around 1000 to 500BC. Its waterlogged holes have preserved information about the local environment, surrounding landscape, forest clearance and farming.
A second pit alignment, which dates from around 500BC to AD 43, contained Roman pottery, which suggested that they were open for a long period of time.
And kilns found on the site are believed to have been used to produce ‘Belgic’ Mediterranean-style pottery – not usually found west of the Avon Valley.
The finds are now being examined by experts while work on the new 96-house Bovis Homes development progresses.
Bovis Homes West Midlands Technical Director Daniel Oliver said: “By developing this land, we were able to give Archaeology Warwickshire and CgMs Consulting the opportunity to investigate the area and we are delighted that they were able to find items of interest.
“The settlement has obviously remained undiscovered for centuries. The artefacts they have found will provide local people and schools with an insight into what life was like in Hillmorton thousands of years ago.”
Simon Mortimer, Director of archaeological consultants CgMs Consulting, said: “The history of occupation on this site was unknown prior to work starting, but we can now show that – after a hiatus of around 1,700 years – this location has a proud lineage.
“It’s traceable into pre-history and the site is obviously now moving on to a new chapter of human habitation and activity.”
The first new Bovis Homes at Hillmorton will be complete this winter.