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Roman villa unearthed

PUBLISHED: 21:04 02 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

A ROMAN villa has been excavated on the outskirts of Stowmarket.

After four years of archaeological investigation and excavations at Crest Nicholson's Cedars Park development, the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the second century AD have been identified and recorded.

A ROMAN villa has been excavated on the outskirts of Stowmarket.

After four years of archaeological investigation and excavations at Crest Nicholson's Cedars Park development, the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the second century AD have been identified and recorded.

Crest Nicholson has funded a series of field investigations, post-excavation work and archive deposition, in collaboration with Suffolk County Council and the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust, in advance of the next phase of residential development on the site.

This year archaeological excavations at Cedars Park revealed an Iron Age settlement and a Roman villa with its farming estate on the crest of the hill.

Suffolk County Council archaeological officer, Judith Plouviez, said: "It is unusual to find a relatively well-preserved villa in the area and it has given archaeologists the chance to excavate an entire agricultural landscape, spanning the prehistoric and Roman periods.

"This was a small villa, represents someone of a reasonable status, although not exceptional, a well-to-do landowner in the Roman period."

Archaeologists from the Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust also found a group of Iron Age roundhouses dated to between 200BC and AD43 at the centre of a patchwork of agricultural fields.

They found the querns that Iron Age people used to grind their grain, some of the smoke-blackened ceramic pots used for cooking and the remains of the animals they ate, including cattle and roe deer.

But arguably the most exciting find was the Roman villa, which was probably built about AD120 out of flint stone with a red tiled roof.

Surrounded by rectangular fields leading down to the river, it might have been the centre of a farming estate.

The inhabitants of the villa estate used a lot of Roman pottery, which was once produced in Stowmarket, West Stow, Wattisfield and Pakenham.

Crest Nicholson will be displaying some artefacts from the dig in a marketing suite, scheduled to open in July.


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