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08 Jan 2019

Sherford's Stone Age history recognised in national archaeology awards

Once home to ancient Stone Age communities, Sherford’s extensive history has been nationally recognised with the development securing a coveted nomination in the Current Archaeology Awards. Celebrating the projects and teams that have made an outstanding contribution to archaeology, Sherford has been nominated in the ‘Rescue Project of the Year’ awards category – and public voting is now open.

The ongoing archaeology work at Sherford is funded by the Sherford Consortium and is being carried out by leading archaeology and heritage practice Wessex Archaeology, alongside Devon County Council and consultants, AECOM.

Archaeological investigations have been taking place at Sherford since work first began on the new town three years ago, with findings revealing that the landscape was once home to ancient communities, dating back over 6,000 years - proving that people were living in the area much earlier than previously thought.

As the only Devon project to secure a place in the awards, the nomination recognises the extensive work carried out by archaeology teams at Sherford, which have included trial trench evaluations, excavations and site-wide geophysical surveys. Exciting findings, including the discovery of ancient artefacts, have helped to shed new light on how early Devon settlers lived, worked and died thousands of years ago

Just some of the exciting unearthed artefacts include prehistoric pottery, Bronze Age tools, two roundhouses and barrows. One of the most significant and rare artefacts, which has recently been discovered, is a large amount of Neolithic pottery dating back to between 3800-3700BC. Other major discoveries also include tools used for sharpening metal objects, the remains of a bronze knife, as well as a large polished stone axe, which had been broken in two. It is expected that following examination, many of the artefacts will eventually be on public display at a local museum.

This latest national award nomination is not the first for Sherford, with the town recently scooping an award from sustainability assessment scheme, CEEQUAL. Supporting best practice across construction projects, the Sherford Consortium was awarded the accreditation by demonstrating its commitment to developing a sustainable community, going beyond the industry minimum required.

Melissa Cloke, Sales and Marketing Director, Sherford Consortium said: “Sherford’s landscape has been home to communities for thousands of years and it’s fantastic that its history, along with the work and dedication of our expert archaeology teams, has been nationally recognised. 

“With more residents now living at Sherford than ever before, the town is quickly becoming a thriving new community, with an emerging history of its own. As one of the largest new developments in the region, it is also vital that its history is uncovered and protected as construction progresses.

“We are proud to be funding this work, which has provided a unique opportunity for people to find out more about early Devon communities, with exciting finds helping to shed new light on how families lived over 6,000 years ago. We hope that these findings will encourage more people to learn about the region’s rich and diverse history.”

Gareth Chaffey, Senior Project Manager for Wessex Archaeology said: “We are delighted that our work at Sherford has been nominated for the award. Our excavations on the site have helped to show that the landscape around Sherford has been inhabited, utilised, farmed and developed over several millennia.

“The future of the site is inherently and intrinsically linked to its past. What is important is that future generations can learn how their town has developed over time and how that past will, in some part at least, define the development from here on in”.

Devon County Council Leader, John Hart said: “The discoveries at Sherford are the culmination of many years of preparatory work and careful planning. The project is an excellent example of how development-led archaeology should work. I am extremely proud of the part that the Devon County Council's Archaeology team has played in this and congratulate the Sherford Consortium and their archaeological consultants on the recognition that this nomination brings.”

Sherford is nominated in the ‘Rescue Project of the Year’ category in the Current Archaeology Awards. Voting is open until 11th February and you can cast your vote here: https://www.archaeology.co.uk/vote

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