Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Roman ruins found under former chocolate factory

More Roman ruins found under former chocolate factory | Blog


by Mike Ribbeck

English: Roman Villa Bradford on Avon
English: Roman Villa Bradford on Avon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The redevelopment of Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Keynsham has unearthed further evidence of a Roman settlement in the town.

Early work has started on the scheme which will see 700 new homes built on the site of the former Somerdale factory on the outskirts of Keynsham. And Taylor Wimpey, the firm behind the development, has revealed that an archaeological survey has found further evidence of the Roman settlement of Trajectus.

There has long been speculation that the lost Roman settlement was in the area and coins and other artefacts have been discovered in the town. Trajectus is the Roman word for bridgehead and the town is thought to have been a crossing point of the nearby River Avon.

An archaeological survey of the former Cadbury’s site has been carried out in preparation for the development and the work revealed several Roman remains. There has been no announcement on what will happen to the remains, but the find is not expected to delay the development.

Nigel Holland, managing director of Taylor Wimpey Bristol, said: “As a responsible builder we undertake archaeological assessments on all new developments to ensure that any historic findings from the site are treated in the most appropriate way.

“The initial survey revealed some interesting archaeological findings that otherwise would have remained unknown.”

He added: “We are fully committed to treating the site appropriately and are working in conjunction with Bath and North East Somerset Council and English Heritage to safeguard the surviving remains for the future.
“We have also agreed the final scope of further evaluation work to be undertaken within the southern part of the factory site.”
The company said the evaluation of the archaeology will be used to help shape the development proposals planned for the site.

English Heritage is working with Taylor Wimpey and the local authority to ensure the remains are safeguarded for the future.

The small town or settlement is thought to have been built around 155 AD and included at least two Roman villas. By the Middle Ages the settlement had developed into a bustling town complete with an Abbey and a market. Taylor Wimpey announced in January it had agreed to buy the historic Somerdale site and turn it into a new estate complete with housing and a school. A new primary school, a hotel and 700 homes are included in the £50-million plan for Keynsham’s former chocolate factory.

Kraft caused uproar after it broke its promise to keep the factory open just weeks after buying Cadbury.
The factory closed in March of last year and the site was sold to Taylor Wimpey for an estimated £10 million.

Kraft Foods took over Cadbury two years ago following a bitter £11.5-billion bidding war. It had promised to save the Keynsham factory from the Cadbury board’s closure plans and to protect the 400 jobs at the factory but reneged on its pledge within weeks of completing the deal. The factory produced its last Curly Wurly in March 2011 and production was moved to Poland by the new owners of the firm.