New housing development uncovers ancient relics

An archaeological dig in Northamptonshire has uncovered ancient Roman and Iron Age findings ahead of a 59-home development on disused farmland.

Futures Housing Group, which provides around 10,000 homes across the East Midlands, is working with Daventry District Council and energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE on the new development in Middlemore, Daventry.

Construction of the new homes on Middlemore Farm, was set to begin in spring 2019 before a geophysical survey of the site revealed its historical significance and a full excavation was ordered.

Gerry Thacker from Oxford Archaeology, who are conducting the dig, said: “The site has revealed the remains of a Roman road, which may be associated with a nearby villa. The findings have also included a Roman coin and pottery which are most likely from the first century AD. Iron Age pottery and animal bone was recovered from an enclosure defined by ditches, and also from a nearby cluster of rubbish pits.

“We hope that the finds will be deposited with a local museum in due course.”

Futures is investing £11m into the Middlemore Farm development, which includes six market rent, 10 affordable rent, 19 shared ownership and 24 rent to buy homes. The first homes are set to be completed in Summer 2020.

Marcus Keys, Futures Housing Group’s Growth and Transformation Director, said: “We’re really excited to start construction of this new mixed tenure development in Daventry, providing a range of housing and home ownership options for the region. It has also been fascinating to find out more about the history of the site, and to discover artefacts that date back more than 2,000 years.”

Councillor David James, Economic, Regeneration and Employment Portfolio Holder on Daventry District Council, said: “We welcome the provision of affordable housing on this site, which will help to meet the needs of our growing population. The discoveries made there are also very interesting, and will no doubt add further insight into our understanding of the importance of this area to Roman and Iron Age Britain.”

Dean Strawbridge, Operations Manager for ENGIE, said: “This is a fantastic project to be involved with and it’s great to be working with Futures Housing Group again. The discovery of the Roman and Iron Age archaeological remains adds a really intriguing back story to the project, and it’s fantastic learning more about the history of the site.”

Homes England have also contributed £1.4m grant funding towards the new homes. Futures Housing Group is set to achieve its 2016 commitment of creating 1,000 new homes by March 2020 to help tackle the UK housing crisis, including new homes in Monksmoor, Moulton and Long Buckby in Daventry District.

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