Lost village discovered

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe they may have found a lost village on the outskirts of Ipswich - a community which has been forgotten in the mists of time for at least nine centuries.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe they may have found a lost village on the outskirts of Ipswich – a community which has been forgotten for at least nine centuries.

Builders digging trenches for the foundations of new homes in Murrills Road, Warren Heath, stumbled across four bones, but archaeologists believe there may be "a few hundred" skeletons on the site of an ancient village cemetery.

County archaeologist, Keith Wade, said it was believed the cemetery belonged to the village of Brihtolvestuna, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was still in existence in 1086.

The bodies probably were buried between 800 and 1200AD.

However, there are no plans to excavate the cemetery – a task which is to be left to future generations.

But the house builders will be asked to preserve it and over the next 12 months will redraw part of the design of the new estate in order to allow the cemetery to lay undisturbed.

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"The builders are quite lucky really because they are currently building at the other end of the field and will not reach the cemetery area for about another year. They don't have to stop work and have plenty of time to redesign that part of the site to preserve the cemetery," said Mr Wade.

"They do have to provide some open space in the site and it may be that the open space could go in the cemetery area."

The county time team was extremely busy and had no plans to excavate the site, but it could still be excavated some time in the future when new methods and technology may allow far more to be discovered about the people who lived in Brihtolvestuna.

Mr Wade added: "This is an important find. Suffolk has a number of lost villages but many of them are under ploughed fields, whereas this one is on heathland and has not been ploughed or disturbed."

Communities were lost for a number of reasons, but it was probable that this one vanished because it found it increasingly difficult to farm the heathland of Warren Heath and make a living. It gradually dispersed to other areas which were easier to cultivate.

Andrew Jay, managing director of Persimmon Homes, said: "Whilst excavating trenches for drainage on the northern boundary of our Murrills Road development, evidence of human remains were discovered.

"From the subsequent investigations it appeared that the remains of an Anglo Saxon/medieval abandoned settlement had been found."

There are thousands deserted settlements across Britain but it is estimated that the location of only one in ten settlements are actually known.