Wessex Water find ancient relics during Taunton water mains upgrade

Wessex Water press officer Lucy Piercey (left) with project manager Phil Luxton

Wessex Water press officer Lucy Piercey (left) with project manager Phil Luxton

First published in News
Last updated
Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

EARLY human bones and a 15th Century wall have been discovered by engineers while digging up Taunton for water mains work.

The bones, which archaeologists believe to be associated with an Augustinian cemetery, and the wall,thought to be that of a small outbuilding, were found along Priory Avenue.

The findings were uncovered as part of Wessex Water’s £16million scheme to improve water quality in the town as engineers reline and replace pipes which are around 100 years old.

Stuart Milby, of Context One archaeology, said: “The bones are undoubtedly associated with the Priory cemetery which we partially excavated in 2005.

“Very little is actually known aboutthe locationso anything we find is significant and exciting.”

Work on Taunton’s water network is a third-of-the-way completed and project manager Phil Luxton said they are on schedule ahead of the scheme end date in June 2014.

Engineers are based on the £3million Castle Green development for around six to eight weeks along with work around St James’ Street along Priory Avenue set to continue until April.

But that work could be delayed if contractors come across more relics underground as archaeologists will have to be drafted in because the area is part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument Area, designated by English Heritage.

Mr Luxton said: “Taunton has a very important history and throughout our scheme we are being very cautious to ensure that we protect and preserve it.

“If our work uncovers any findings, archaeologists working alongside us will take the time to analyse and record them before we can move on with our work.”

Checklist of work completed:

Lisieux Way, Toneway, Obridge Viaduct, Winckworth Way, Obridge Road, Obridge Crescent, Priorswood Road, Access Road off Priorswood Road, St Andrew's Road, Greenway Road, Stanway Close, Wellesley Street

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