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DIDCOT ARCHAEOLOGY CAMPAIGN

DIDCOT ARCHAEOLOGY CAMPAIGN

Didcot and other Oxfordshire residents are calling for archaeological sites on Great Western Park to be turned into a history walk rather than covered with tarmac and houses.

The discovery of spectacular archaeology dating back 9000 years has led to the formation of a campaign group to save an area popular with dog walkers  and countryside lovers. Pictured is an example of the high status bronze arrowheads which have been found. For more pictures, visit http:///www.ddmile.org.uk/ddmile/HOME.html.

To sign a petition asking Taylor Wimpey to consider saving key parts of the site visit http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/ddmile

Karen Leahy, a member of the group, writes;

The site has been described as one of the largest and most significant archaeological projects in Oxfordshire in recent years.

In 1995 a hoard of 126 Roman gold coins, described as ‘extremely uncommon’ by the Bristish Museum, was found on the site. But the 2010-2013 dig surprised everyone as it revealed 7000 years of continuous pre-history dating to the Mesolithic 9,000 years ago.

The dig was carried out by commercial archaeologists, Oxford Archaeology who described the site as ‘crammed packed’ full of archaeology. The site was closed off during the dig and members of the public did not see any of the archaeology in-situ.

The earliest finds were 4,000 flint implements dating from the Mesolithic (7000 BC) and an unusually complete and rare Early Neolithic ceramic bowl. From the Bronze Age a pond barrow was uncovered, one of fewer than a hundred found in Britain. Unusually, it was surrounded by a settlement. Dating from 2400 BC the barrow was accompanied by beautifully worked flint arrowheads, other weapons, tools and charred bone. A ring barrow, basically a mound over a burial place, was also discovered.

A large Iron Age village of around 50-60 roundhouses was discovered behind Stephen Freeman School. Cattle and other animal skulls, bones and human skeletons were found carefully placed in a ceremonial way in many of the 900 Iron Age pits originally used to store corn. A circle of lambs’ heads was discovered in one. Several boundary ditches defined the village.

Behind Slade Road, adjacent to the road to Harwell, is a small Roman villa and deep wells which have not been fully excavated. However, corn dryers, including one of the best examples found in Britain and one that included a burial, have been excavated along with a metalled surface coins, indicating a Roman trading area. Across the site over 100 burials from various eras were found, plus signs of Medieval and Anglo-Saxon activity.

The developers planned to protect the Roman villa and the ancient boundary ditch, but the fate of the pond barrow site and other areas is likely to be under modern houses.


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