Saturday, March 6, 2021

Thousands of artefacts uncovered in Spalding following archaeological investigations

Thousands of artefacts have been discovered along the route of the Spalding Western Relief Road, with some of the oldest activity dating back to the Iron Age.

According to Ian Marshman, historic environment officer for the county council, one of the most interesting finds has been an unusual type of Roman oven, known as a tannur.

Dr Marshman said: “A similar type of oven is still in use today in India, called a tandoor, with food baked in it known as tandoori.

“Whilst archaeologists have previously found small parts of these Roman ovens before, this is thought to be one of the best preserved examples ever found in Britain.

“The archaeology team hopes to reconstruct the oven’s shape and analyse its ash to better understand how it was used and what might have been cooked in it – giving us a fascinating insight into Roman industry and trade.

“Ovens like this seem to have been used where there was a need to cook lots of bread quickly, like at the amphitheatre in Chester. So our current theory is that the ovens were used to bake bread for people making salt out in the fens.”

Other interesting finds unearthed include:

  • Roman quern stone – would have been used to grind grain to make flour, perhaps for bread baked in the ovens. It was found in the bottom of a large Roman ditch, and might have been re-used as an anchor for a small Roman fen boat.
  • Medieval thimble – made of copper alloy it looks just like the kind of thimbles still used to protect your finger when sewing today.
  • Medieval knife handle – a humble everyday object made from bone, which had been polished smooth from years of use.

Dr Marshman added: “In the late Roman period, the site was inundated by rising water levels in the fens, caused by a climate change event that meant wetter colder weather.

“The team found evidence for activity again in the medieval period, once the area was no longer under water. Some pottery from the Saxon period was also found, which could mean that people returned to the site even earlier.”

Mick McDaid, Project Manager for Allen Archaeology – the firm contracted to research the site’s archaeology – said: “The first step in the investigation was to pull together and review all of the available resources related to this area of Spalding, including old maps, historical documents and previous nearby archaeological investigations.

“From there, trial holes were excavated to develop a better understanding of what might be found buried underground along the route. We then started to excavate the area.

“First, we carefully removed the topsoil from each area using a 14-tonne excavator. We then used shovels, spades, picks and barrows to expose features and artefacts before using 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 was then produced, describing all its defining characteristics, including its relationship with other features we unearthed. Each discovery was also photographed, and GPS equipment was used document the specific location of each one on a map.

“Now that the excavation is finished, we will analyse the artefacts, animal bones and shells to help piece together more about the site’s long history. Archaeological scientists will also study samples of soil and charcoal to create a picture of the local environment, and how this was affected by climate change events in the past.”

Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “When building a new road, it’s not just about constructing bridges and laying tarmac. First and foremost, it’s really important to understand and protect the area’s heritage so future generations can learn from and understand its rich history.

“It’s truly amazing when you stop and think about what’s underneath the ground below your feet.”

With the archaeology now complete, further works on-site in the next few weeks will be the construction of a haul road and the main site compound, along with final preparatory gas protection works and borehole testing. Main construction works are expected to start in the spring.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £27.55 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Advertisment








Latest posts

Sam sets sights on 7 marathons in 7 days to raise £12,000 for charity

From Saturday 6 March to Friday 12 March Sam Gelder will be running '7 marathons in 7 days' to raise funds for The Gelder Charitable...

Freeport to bring thousands of jobs to North Lincolnshire

Thousands of sustainable jobs will be created across North Lincolnshire following the announcement on the development of a Humber freeport. The announcement was made by...

The Lincolnshire areas receiving millions from the Government’s Towns Fund revealed

The government has revealed 45 areas that will receive money from the Towns Fund, equating to £1.02 billion. This includes a number of towns...

Women’s mental health unit opens near Sleaford

A new women’s mental health unit has opened near Sleaford. The 15-bed acute treatment ward in Greylees will provide support for women who are experiencing...

New Extra Care housing set for Sleaford

Lincolnshire County Council and North Kesteven District Council have approved the development of Extra Care housing for over 55's on the Hoplands site in...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close