Thursday, 18 September 2014

55 trenches

Doesn't 55 trenches - to assess ‘anomalies’ thrown up after the geophysical archaeological survey last December - sound a lot to you? It adds up to about 1.4 acres and 3,500 tonnes of soil to excavate. Remember the test pits that Aggregate Industries dug in November 2012? That was for 400 tonnes.

But it is important to assess any archaeology before ripping the farm apart with bulldozers and quarrying equipment. A pre-historic track is thought to run through Straitgate, and a number of archaeological finds were made in the area during the construction of the A30. The site's prominent position was also an important junction, where a Roman road (the Fosse Way - old A30) crossed a Saxon road (B3180) running from the Blackdown Hills to Exmouth.

Would significant archaeology stop a quarry? Well, only this week in South Oxfordshire “a rural site is being assessed for heritage status, which could affect plans for a large quarry”.

DCC's map of historical and archaeological features at Straitgate Farm