Friday, 4 November 2011

News - Ancient history revealed on A46

The remains of an Anglo-Saxon hall, Roman roads, Iron Age settlements, ancient burial sites and thousands of artefacts, some dating back 13,000 years, have been discovered during the dualling of the A46 from Newark to Widmerpool.

A presentation, called A46 The Old And The New, attended by more than 150 people at South Muskham Village Hall, unveiled the wide range of finds during work on the road, which began in 2009.

Finds included an Iron Age settlement near Owthorpe, dating back to 400BC-AD43, and Prehistoric and Neolithic structures near Stragglethorpe, including a burial site containing seven skeletons, three adults, two infants and two others that could not be identified.

The most significant find was at Farndon where evidence of artefacts dating back to the Late Upper Palaeolithic period, around 11,000BC, were found, including a hearth that may have been part of a temporary settlement or camp for hunters.

Near Stragglethorpe a rare Neolithic beaker, from a European tribe not known to have travelled this far north, was discovered.

Another Iron Age site, with evidence of crop processing, animal husbandry and a causeway was found at High Thorpe.

At Saxondale 17 cremation sites, 1,913 shards of pottery and 46 iron fragments from varying stages of history were found, plus a pair of tweezers, Anglo-Saxon urns and jewellery.

Most of the finds, especially from the Roman period, were near the Margidunum roundabout at the A46/A6097.

A Roman well, houses and 9,371 pieces of pottery, some from as far afield as France and Germany, were found, along with another Iron Age settlement.

The remains of a rare snail, called Cochlicopa Nitens, which became extinct more than 10,000 years ago and is only the third ever found on these shores was also found.

Brooches, bone hairpins, a Roman coin emblazoned with the head of emperor Travio Augusto and evidence of an Anglo-Saxon hall were also discovered.

In amongst 13 burials in casts, one skeleton was found with its hands tied, laid out on stone slabs.

Archaeological site representative Louise Robinson said the scale of finds was phenomenal.

“What we see with this development is huge periods of history being connected along this one road. These finds show the amount of history in the area,” she said.

“This project has given us a better understanding of how people lived through various different periods of time, the most exciting finds were the hearth and rare artefacts at Farndon which give us an insight into a period of time we actually know little about.

“The people of the area should be proud to have this kind of rich history on their doorstep.”

It is hoped the finds will be displayed in Newark, although no decision has been made.

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