Archaeologists Discover Bronze Age Remains At Hembury Homes’ New Property Development Near Bigbury, Devon.

Historic finds suggest the site used to be a family farm c1500BC.

Archaeologists examining a known Bronze Age enclosure on the edge of St Ann’s Chapel near Bigbury, Devon, have confirmed the location was likely at one point a family farm dating back to circa 1500 BC.

South West Archaeology undertook the archaeological excavation on behalf of Hembury Homes Ltd, the Devon based property development company, in advance of a forthcoming housing development.

The excavations confirmed the presence of part of a small, ditched and possibly once banked enclosure, approximately 40m in diameter from the Middle Bronze Age.

The experts found that the enclosure had the remains of a gateway to its north, and a well preserved round-house. There were a small number of pits, post-holes and other remains, which are all thought likely to be contemporary with this house.

Historic finds recovered from the excavation include mostly Middle Bronze Age ‘Trevisker’ type pottery, manufactured from clay or imported from Cornwall as fired large storage jar type vessels. They also discovered a small greenstone axe head and a small number of ‘rubbers’ – stones used for polishing other materials such as leather.

Dr. Samuel Walls of South West Archaeology said: “The site likely represents the equivalent of a family ‘farm’ from around 1500 BC and provides important though tentative evidence of the Bronze Age economy and lifestyle from the area, which adds to the growing picture of prehistoric activity in the vicinity of Bigbury.”

He added: “The pottery we found is classic ‘cord-impressed’ Trevisker Ware pottery, dating from around 1400 BC. They are likely to be from tall upright urns.”

The artefacts will be stored at The Box museum in Plymouth.

Dan Salt, Managing Director at Hembury Homes, said: “I find it remarkable to reflect on how families will have lived and worked on this site for more than 3,500 years. It is important that we as developers are always aware of the historical and environmental significance of the locations on which we build new modern homes. It is nice to think that we are helping families live at St Ann’s Chapel for future generations to come.”

The site will provide the home for a collection of just nine two, three, four and five bedroom homes, set in an edge of the village St Ann’s Chapel. Construction at Chapel Orchard is due to start in the autumn of 2021.