A previously unknown Romano-British site of significance was discovered in 2007 as a result of two local metal detectorists finding Roman coins, which they recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme. A subsequent geophysical survey commissioned by Devon County Council and trial excavations in 2011 funded by the British Museum and the Roman Research Trust confirmed that the discoveries were associated with many archaeological features lying below the ground, over an area of several acres. The findings from this pilot survey and from the first season of the field school in 2012 revealed a Roman road, a square enclosure ditch of Roman date, and an Iron Age/ Romano-British round house. Many fragments of pottery were recovered including imported wares such as amphora from Spain, and decorated Samian ware. More coins were found, along with a fragment of human bone, dating to the Roman period. Current findings have revealed that there is even more archaeology than identified by the geophysics.
The discovery of this site is of tremendous importance. The site is unique to the South West Britain and its research will significantly contribute to our understanding of life in the Romano-British world, on the edges of the Roman Empire. What we do not yet know is the exact function of the site and for how long it was in use. As a result of this the key objectives for further excavation will be to assess the nature of the site, the level of the site’s preservation and its date range. This will be done by examining archaeological features such as buildings, trackways and pits to ascertain their structure and layout and to gather contextual information from them in the form of finds, and palaeoenvironmental samples, which could provide evidence of what was being grown and eaten by the inhabitants of the site, and help us to understand the human relationship with the environment two thousand years ago.
Over the next three years, a team of archaeologists from the University of Exeter, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the British Museum and Devon County Council will lead investigations at the site. Fieldwork will be carried out with the help of volunteers from the local community including the local History Society and Devon Archaeological Society.