Didcot dig: MP Ed Vaizey supports history trail plans

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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey is supporting a campaign for a history trail through a new housing estate.

Archaeologists discovered hunter-gatherers lived on the site of the Great Western Park development in Didcot, Oxfordshire, 9,000 years ago.

About 3,300 homes, schools and shops are being built on the 180-hectare site east of the town.

A petition in favour of installing a history trail has been signed by nearly 1,100 people.

Timeline of finds at the site

The Neolithic bowl found
  • Mesolithic - 10,000 to 4,000 BC: Flint implements from hunter-gatherers
  • Neolithic - 4,000 to 2,000 BC: A ceramic bowl
  • Bronze Age - 2,000 to 800 BC: A pond barrow burial mound used for mortuary ceremonies and three roundhouses within a ditched enclosure
  • Iron Age - 800 BC to 43 AD: A large settlement with up to 60 roundhouses, animal enclosures, trackway and grain storage pits also used for human burials
  • Roman - 43 to 410 AD: A hoard of 400 coins, a Roman villa with bathhouse, human burials and corn drying ovens

The Didcot Dogmile group wants the archaeology found at the site marked and displayed through a trail with information boards and a reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse.

Karen Waggott, from the group, said: "This community petition asks that this story is not buried in a report and under housing."

The petition has been submitted to Oxfordshire County Council.

Mr Vaizey said: "We have been contacted about this, and we are, in turn, contacting the developers and English Heritage to see if we can help.

"In principle I am very much in favour of a history trail."

Among other discoveries made by archaeologists during 2010-13 excavations were a rare and complete neolithic bowl dating from about 3,600 BC, a Bronze Age burial mound, 60 Iron Age roundhouses and up to 50 burials.

A Roman farmstead was also discovered.

The history trail plan is backed by Didcot Town Council.

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