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Sniffing out some ancient artefacts

[Leicester Mercury story, November 25]
Priceless secrets of Leicestershire's ancient past have been uncovered - next to a sewage works.

Anglo-saxon and Roman artefacts were discovered near Wanlip sewage works by archaeologists from the University of Leicester's Archaeological Services Unit (ULAS).

They were called in to investigate a site about to be dug up to make way for a new 2.8km pipeline from Rothley to Wanlip.

Over seven weeks in the summer, the team discovered Saxon and Medieval pottery and tools on a prehistoric farm settlement.

Now they are preparing a report on the remains so people can learn about the history of their area.

Archaeologist John Thomas, who is writing the report, said the find was of huge local significance.

He said: "This area has such a long history of occupation because it is on a high point of the landscape surrounded by agricultural land.

"It meant we were able to find material from different ages because it was a popular place to settle. We found evidence from the Neolithic, Anglo-Saxon and Roman ages."

Foundations of farm buildings built nearly 2,000 years ago were uncovered as well as a series of small ditches which would have been used to separate the fields.

Archaeologists also found a pile of small animal bones and broken pottery, which they said was evidence of a Saxon rubbish dump.

Mr Thomas said the pottery was a particularly interesting find.

It meant the experts could work out exactly when the items were thrown away.

Mr Thomas said: "Overall, it was an important find."

Project manager James Meek said that the archaeology team were able to record their findings before the area was covered over to make way for the engineering work by Severn Trent Water and Pick Everard.

He said: "We took pictures and wrote down information but the area has had to be covered over again.

"We uncovered four areas in total. Severn Trent were very good and let us have plenty of time to record our findings before the work on the pipeline started. It will be good for people to learn about what has happened in their own back yard."

Alister Foye, spokesman for Severn Trent Water said it was company policy to work with archaeologists before starting a project.

He said: "We are delighted to have been involved in something that has been so successful."

Pick Everard engineer Ron Ashton said: "It's very exciting that remains have actually been found, and that they are so significant."

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Last updated: 28 November 2002 10:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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