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2,000-year-old settlement unearthed at housing regeneration site

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2,000-year-old settlement unearthed at housing regeneration site


Published by Max Salsbury for in Housing and also in Communities, Development

dig dig

Archaeologists working at the site of an £80 million housing regeneration have unearthed evidence of a prehistoric settlement dating back around 2,000 years.

Excavators at the Orchard Village site in Rainham have discovered farming equipment and Roman materials, including three kilns that it is thought were used to make pottery in the 3rd century AD.

Archaeologists working on behalf of social landlord Circle Housing have also found two pots with broken bases which are believed to date back to the late 1st century, and could have been deliberately damaged as part of a ritual.

“The regeneration of Orchard Village has been all about looking forward to a bright and positive future for our residents. But these discoveries are a reminder of the area’s rich history, which should not be forgotten,” said Dawn Mckenzie, Circle Housing’s project manager for Orchard Village.

Helen Hawkins, from Pre-Construct Archaeology, said: “We are very pleased with the prehistoric and Roman findings, which have greatly enhanced our understanding of the use of this area during these periods.

“The pots in particular are significant as they appear to show that the site was occupied even earlier than we previously thought.”

The regeneration of Orchard Village began in 2008 and has already seen 299 new homes built and 19 properties renovated. The project will see most of the existing properties – including six tower blocks – demolished and replaced with modern, high quality low-rise homes. A total of 555 new homes will be built to re-house existing tenants when all four phases of the project are completed in 2016.

The unearthed objects will shortly be passed on to London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre.

Circle Housing owns and runs 66,000 homes across the country.


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