New Homes offer opportunity to uncover historic finds at Soham site

13 January 2017

Dig at Soham

An archaeological excavation commissioned and funded by Bovis Homes in Soham has discovered that the 87 new homes currently being built at the Cambridgeshire site are not the first to have been constructed on the land.

The work, on the site of the Morris Gardens location where the housebuilder is currently building and selling a range of properties, was carried out by Archaeology South-East, who are now assessing and logging the artefacts they uncovered.

David Ivell, Technical Director at Bovis Homes, said:  "By developing this land, we were able to give Archaeology South-East the opportunity to investigate the area. We're delighted that it uncovered items of interest that will help future generations to understand how the land here has changed over many centuries, from a settlement for Roman families, right through to becoming the modern new homes site we are building here today."

Louise Rayner, Assistant Director at Archaeology South-East, said: "The site was expected to contain archaeological remains after a large excavation immediately to the south-east had previously uncovered extensive evidence for the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman periods but it was great to discover such a range of exciting artefacts.

"Among the discoveries was a large, ditched Iron Age enclosure, at least 2.5m wide and 2m deep measuring 50m by at least 20m.This was extended by about 30m during the Roman period.
"The enclosures form part of a productive agricultural landscape with finds of quernstones for processing grain, animal bones and other domestic refuse, and pits possibly used for grain storage. Although no buildings were identified, it is likely a settlement focus was located nearby."

A number of well-preserved Anglo-Saxon objects were also recovered including jewellery, personal ornaments and weapons.  These included spears, shields, small buckets, tweezers, whetstones, and buckles. Female associated objects including jewellery and often strings of beads, made of a variety of materials including glass, amber, jet, and amethyst were also found.

Other goods included silver wrist clasps, bone pins, and rings. On some brooches and other metal objects, fragments of the textiles used for the clothing are preserved and detail of the weave pattern of the cloth can be seen and reconstructed. These preserved fragments will prove important evidence to help archaeologists understand textile technology and reconstruct Anglo-Saxon clothing.

Morris Gardens offers a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes close to the Cambridgeshire countryside and less than a mile from the centre of Soham. The first of these homes are available to purchase now.

For more information, go to www.bovishomes.co.uk/new-homes-at-soham