EVIDENCE of a Roman settlement - believed to date back as early as the 1st Century AD - has been uncovered during work on a Somerset housing development.

The findings were unearthed on the site of the new Bloor Homes Somerton Mead development, on land north of Bancombe Road.

They have been excavated and studied by experts at Cotswold Archaeology.

Among the artefacts uncovered were an iron blacksmith’s hammer, iron cleaver, large quantities of pottery, tweezers, brooches, coins and Kimmeridge shale bracelet fragments.

Chris Ellis, senior project officer from Cotswold Archaeology, said: “The Somerton area is known to be archaeologically rich and investigations over the last 50 years have revealed a wealth of evidence for settlement and burials dating from the prehistoric and Roman periods.

“The findings from the site at Bancombe Road indicate that an extensive Roman rural settlement occupied the land here between the 1st and 4th Century AD.

“We identified a number of features including a stone building, which we believe may have been used as a blacksmith’s workshop owing to the artefacts found here.

"It may latterly have been used as a lambing shed as we found signs of a construction of small, separate internal bays, as well as a droveway which would have been used for moving livestock from one place to another.

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“In a second area, we identified a ring-ditch – a circular trench – which probably served as a drainage gully for a roundhouse, which would have been a typical form of housing at the time, which we date somewhere between Middle to Late Iron Age, around 400BC to AD43.

"The ring-ditch is very similar to eight others excavated at the local authority school site 100 metres to the north of here by Wessex Archaeology.

"The artefacts unearthed here will eventually go to the Castle Museum in Taunton.”

Sara Parker, sales director at Bloor Homes South West, said: “It’s always fascinating to discover evidence of how land has been used in the past and how people lived.

“We knew Somerton was a town with a rich history, but it’s always special to unearth finds like this as we embark on construction.

“The site is nestled in the heart of the Somerset countryside and enjoys picturesque views across the rolling hillside, so it’s easy to see why this part of the country was popular with our prehistoric and Roman ancestors."

To find out more about Bloor Homes’ developments across the South West, please visit www.bloorhomes.com.

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