Sherford continues to reveal its rich history, with archaeological investigations uncovering the remains of an ancient road and other fascinating finds. Some of the artefacts are believed to date back to the Roman period and provide evidence that this area has long been a crucial link for trade and connecting ancient communities.
With the new findings following on just one year after the monumental discovery of ice-age Megafauna, archaeologists have been working to uncover even more of the new community’s hidden history. The latest discoveries come as part of key infrastructure work to create the Sherford Business Park – part of which is within the new Plymouth and South Devon Freeport.
As well as shedding new light on how people once lived, worked and travelled, the discovery of a probable Roman road – which extends across the length of the area towards Plympton – also showcases ancient construction methods; with its crushed slate surface and adjacent drainage points still clearly visible and well-preserved.
Archaeological investigations at Sherford have been taking place since construction of the town first began in 2015. Committed to revealing and preserving Sherford’s history, the Sherford Consortium – a partnership between award-winning national housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey & Vistry Group, which includes Countryside Partnerships, Linden Homes and Bovis Homes – fund an ongoing programme of archaeological excavations, working with Devon County Council, as well as expert teams from Orion Heritage and AC Archaeology.
As part of the most recent archaeological investigations, evidence of ancient community family life was also unearthed. The area was likely a thriving place of activity from the Bronze Age (2700-700 BC), as shown by the discovery of the remains of roundhouse postholes – circular style family homes, typical of the period and usually constructed with natural materials found in the local area. Pottery, dating back to 1500 BC, was also uncovered and still shows unique decorations; likely made from a cord being pressed into wet clay before being fired.
Square enclosures, once home to farmsteads during the Roman period (1st – 5th Century AD), showed evidence of crop processing having once taken place on the site, alongside the discovery of waste associated with the making of flint tools; which ancient communities likely would have used to work and farm the land. All findings that can be removed from the area will be carefully analysed and preserved by a team of archaeological experts, hopefully to join other artefacts discovered at Sherford and eventually put on public display.
Peter Sadler, Managing Director of Countryside Partnerships South West, part of the Sherford Consortium, said: “It’s amazing to reveal even more archaeological finds at Sherford; this new community continues to reveal its extensive history. The discoveries provide even further evidence that Sherford is archaeologically rich and diverse, with the area now known to have been a key route for travel and trade between local families and communities thousands of years ago. Sherford’s new Business Park will continue this legacy, by acting as a point of trade, collaboration and connection.”
Rob Bourn, Managing Director of Orion Heritage adds, “Enhancing our understanding of not just Devon, but also Britain’s ancient history, the archaeological work at Sherford continues to be fascinating. We are thrilled to work on these important historic investigations, and hope the findings at Sherford help to encourage everyone to take an interest in local history and the secrets under the soil.”