Sunday, September 20, 2020

Grantham Southern Relief Road uncovers thousands of years of history

Thousands of artefacts have been discovered along the Grantham Southern Relief Road, including bones, an iron sickle, a copper spoon handle, brooches, coins and stone walls.

The site has uncovered almost 2,000 years of history and AOC Archaeology, the firm contracted to research the site’s archaeology, has been working to uncover the remains of the buildings.

“Although the finds are yet to be looked at by specialists, we believe the oldest activity dates back to the Romano-British period, somewhere between 100 and 410 AD,” said Catherine Edwards, Project Manager for AOC Archaeology.

“The first step of our investigation was to carefully strip the site’s topsoil. Once the material was moved off-site, we were able to move in and start our investigations.

“First, we used a range of heavy tools, like shovels, spades, picks and barrows, to expose features and artefacts. We then used lighter hand tools, like trowels and hand brushes, to excavate and clean what we’d uncovered.

“A full written record of each feature or layer is then produced, describing its function, form and relationships with other features. Each discovery is also photographed, and GPS equipment is used to locate each one accurately on a plan. This allows us to ‘recreate’ the site and tell its story.”

According to Phil Weston, Senior Archaeological Consultant at WSP – the company advising on highway design and environmental compliance – the three most significant finds discovered as part of this investigation are:

Several exceptionally well-preserved Roman buildings – one building was terraced into the hillside and we believe that a landslip caused it to collapse.

Burials – as well as a grave containing the remains of several adults, the remains of at least eight new-born babies who died in the second or third centuries AD were found buried under the floors and foundations of some of the buildings.

Industrial features – a very well-preserved pottery kiln and several other furnace/oven bases were uncovered.

The Grantham Southern Relief Road project is scheduled to open during 2023.

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