Here’s a blog from our Hub Intern Sophie Pallett. Sophie is on hand to discuss the site with visitors at the Archaeology Information Point at the Hub, Ippelpen Methodist Church, East St, Mondays to Fridays 10am – 4pm until 29th June 2017.
‘What makes Ipplepen unique?! ! Ever since Ipplepen was ﬁrst reported to the Portable Antiquities scheme in Devon in 2009 it has raised many questions. What were the Romans doing this far down in Devon? How long had this settlement been occupied? And most importantly: why is Ipplepen so different from other sites in Britain?! Though there are many exciting features of Ipplepen, perhaps the most perplexing (at least from an archaeologists point of view) is what it was doing all the way down in Devon. Traditionally, it was thought the Romans never ventured much further west than Exeter: there are certainly less of the famous villas in the south west than the more densely populated south east. However, apparently nobody told this to the inhabitants of Ipplepen! Evidence of the Roman lifestyle has been found in many forms within this rural village in Devon, everything from amphorae to coins to ﬁnely decorated pottery has been found. Not to mention the example of such a well constructed Roman road which was repaired and maintained throughout many phases! Another recent discovery from the 2016 excavation has even raised eyebrows at the site: the site which appears to have been inhabited for a over 1000 years. While the Romans tend to stand out with their decorated samian ware and cleverly made roads it cannot be forgotten that Ipplepen existed long before Julius Caesar even set foot in England. Last year a human cremation was dated to the 4th-3rd century BC (Middle Iron Age) but burials from the 2015 excavation date to the AD 7th century: 200 years after the Romans withdrew from Britain! What is clear is that Ipplepen doesn’t just offer Roman history but also the history of the people of Devon. Overall, it appears that the more we ﬁnd out about Ipplepen the more there is to investigate. As it was put best by Dr Sam Moorhead, from the British Museum, the site raises “a whole series of new questions” about Roman Devon. The only thing we can say is that each new season of excavation holds the possibility of new and exciting discoveries. Come and visit us in the Hub to see the latest ﬁnds and learn more!’