What developers said about Didcot West archaeology:

In 2000 when the decision to build on the site was being discussed at the council:
“[RPS] carried out an archaeological field evaluation which confirmed that Roman remains exist, but have been damaged by agricultural practices.” 
OCC Environment Ctte Agenda Dec 2000

2002 following Cotswold Archaeology assessment:
“...that found at Didcot is not of the same importance as the finds in the Dorchester-Benson area, which could have the same national significance as Avebury... to spin this into the Didcot debate is divisive...” 
Letter in Didcot Herald from
Councillor Nigel Moor, Wallingford Town Council - also developers representative for Great Western Park

2013 following excavations by Oxford Archaeology: “...one of the largest and most significant archaeological projects to have taken place in Oxfordshire in recent years with results that provide a detailed historical narrative for Didcot and the surrounding area that extends back deep into prehistory”
Rob Masefield, RPS - developer Taylor Wimpey’s representative
Summary of the archaeology fieldwork at Didcot West
9000 year old camp and Mesolithic flints
Rare Neolithic bowl lain undisturbed for 6000 years
Bronze Age pond barrow with six post structure and a settlement
Bronze Age ring barrow
More than 50 Iron Age round houses, 900 storage pits, numerous burials, rare, complete Iron Age pot and other pottery
Roman a, 4-5 Roman corn dryers, pottery, bracelet and ritualistic burials 
Evidence of earlier Iron Age and later Anglo Saxon dwelling with the Roman dwelling
Possible Roman trading area where 200-300 coins were found on what is thought to be a path
A rare Roman ‘bustum’ cremation, reserved for the wealthy it is very unusual to be found in a rural area, close to a villa
Rare treasure find of 126 gold Roman coins and pot
Anglo Saxon brooch
Medieval horse skeleton and barn
Ancient boundary and trackways
The area of ‘Boundary Park’ on Great Western Park has not be excavated, so more could be waiting to be discovered
The initial conclusions above will be subject to dating and research before final interpretations of the fieldwork is made.
Click here for the latest update...

Residents in the area have long been aware of Didcot West’s archaeological significance and it yielded a rare ‘treasure’ find of 126 Roman gold coins in 1995. The ploughed land had produced flints, coins and other small finds.
The developer’s assessment in 2002 indicated archaeology across the 180 hectare site, but this wasn’t enough for the site’s suitability for housing to be challenged. 
However, the 2010-2013 dig surprised everyone. The sites turned out be amazing, spanning 7000 years, starting 9,000 years ago. 
The dig was carried out by commercial archaeologists, Oxford Archaeology who were employed by RPS on behalf of Taylor Wimpey. They described the site as ‘crammed packed’ full of archaeology and were obviously very excited about what had been found.
The site was closed off during the two and a half year dig and members of the public were not able to observe any of the process of uncovering such incredible finds. The County Archaeologist blamed the weather: local people blamed the developer’s schedule.
The earliest finds were 4,000 flint implements dating from the Mesolithic (7000 BC) and an unusually complete and rare Early Neolithic ceramic bowl. From the Bronze Age a pond barrow was uncovered, one of fewer than a hundred ever found in Britain. Unusually, it was surrounded by a settlement. Dating from 2400 BC the barrow was accompanied by beautifully worked flint arrowheads, other weapons and tools and charred bone. A ring barrow, basically a mound over a burial place, was also discovered.
An ancient field system was identified, and a well-defined boundary (familiar to walkers who have slipped and slid down its steep sides on the path to Harwell), dating back thousands of years.
The Iron Age village was discovered behind Stephen Freeman School. Cattle and other animal skulls, bones and human skeletons, including those of children, were found carefully placed in a ceremonial way in many of the pits, originally used to store corn, A circle of lambs’ heads were discovered in one. Several boundary ditches defined the village.
Behind Slade Road, adjacent to the road to Harwell, is a Roman building that was found to be bigger than originally thought. It is an ailsed building, two rooms wide, perhaps 26 metres across, with a part thatched, part tiled roof and painted wall plaster showing it had a degree of luxury. Several deep wells have also been found, these have not been fully excavated due to their depth and will built over. However, corn dryers, including one of the best examples found in Britain and one that included a burial, have been excavated along with a metalled surface with around 400 coins indicating a Roman trading area. Across the site over 100  burials from various eras were uncovered. 
An interim report has now been published and sent to English Heritage to evaluate, whilst the full report will not be ready until 2015/6. Meanwhile the site is fast turning into a modern housing estate.
Download pictorial timeline of pre-history of Didcot West
Download developers Interim Archaeology report (8.4mb)

Download the 2014 Residents’ History Trail Proposal

Related links
The Didcot Hoard at the British Museum
NEW! BBC News - Didcot dig: Road near Bronze Age monument approved
BBC News - Didcot dig: Campaign against road near Bronze Age monument 
BBC News - Didcot dig: Petition calls for history trail
BBC News - 9000 year old village life
BBC South Today report on the archaeology (video)

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