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'No human remains' in Roman finds unearthed at Yeovil Rec hockey pitch project

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: March 28, 2013

Remains of farm structures from the Roman period along with pottery and coins were uncovered at Yeovil Recreation Ground where South Somerset District Council is constructing a new hockey pitch

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Roman remains and coins were dug up on the building site of a new hockey pitch at Yeovil Rec.

Reports that a skull had been uncovered circulated after archaeologists were called to the scene last week, but officials have since said there were no human remains.

A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “The Historic Environment Team’s archaeologists discovered evidence of farming from the Roman period.

“This included the remains of a small stock enclosure, rubbish pits, and four posts forming a square which would probably have supported a suspended grain store to keep it away from rats.

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“Roman pottery was also found, including fine Samian table-wares from France.

“There were also some coins found while doing the groundworks and this find is being assessed.

“The finds will be washed, analysed and the results put into a report which will be held by the council’s Historic Environment Record and available to any researchers.

“The Museum of Somerset will retain the finds.”

The chairman of a group opposed to the artificial hockey pitch project said he had concerns about how the discovery was dealt with by the district council and its contractors.

South Somerset District Council is responsible for construction work on the site, which began this month after a long campaign by Save Yeovil Rec to prevent the work was defeated.

Ashley Strelling, the group’s chairman, said several residents knocked on his door on Thursday to voice distress about what they had seen and heard at the building site.

Mr Strelling said: “Naturally we are concerned to hear that a member of the public was told to f*** off when she inquired what was happening on Thursday. No one deserves to be spoken to like that.”

Steve Joel, assistant director of health and wellbeing for SSDC, said: “The behaviour of our contractors is very important to us.

“As you would expect our contractor has been fully briefed about the sensitivities associated with the site and any complaint about the conduct of their staff will be investigated.

“At this stage, no complaint has been received by the council or its contractor, just an unsubstantiated claim from a member of the local campaign group.”

“Sadly no Roman bones or Roman villa have been uncovered at Yeovil Recreation Centre.

“In the course of the works we did uncover two small and insignificant finds, outside of the perimeter area of the artificial grass pitch and an archaeologist was brought on site in line with standard practice to make some further investigations.

“The investigations did not affect the construction of the pitch and I understand that they have now been completed. Construction will not be affected by this discovery.”

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