This is Cornwall
Sat, 09 Mar 2013 13:32 CST
© This is Cornwall
A Roman brooch or fibula, one of the artefacts found during preliminary work at Hinkley Point. Left, Rachel Bellamy and Jane Hill, from the Somerset Heritage Service, with bones, stones and pottery. Right, a piece of ornate Samian ware Roman pottery, found during the work
The remains of what might be one of the oldest ports in the Westcountry have been discovered by the largest single archaeological site-survey ever undertaken in the region.
The historic investigation covers an area of land the equivalent of 262 football pitches at the site of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor on the Somerset coast.
Surprisingly, given the geography involved, the remains of what looks to be an ancient harbour have been found nearly a mile inland.
Historians have been able to establish that the nuclear power station is situated on what used to be an isolated headland - until Roman times a large estuarine inlet filled the shallow valley to the south.
This provided a sheltered spot where ancient people, going back 4,000 years or even longer, could moor their primitive boats and fish.
These astonishing facts were revealed yesterday at an event staged at Somerset Museum where details of an archaeological excavation and education outreach programme funded by EDF Energy and carried out by Somerset County Council (SCC) were unveiled.
Not only have archaeologists discovered what looks to be the remains of an estuarine community, they have also uncovered the first ever Saxon style 'grub hut' to be found anywhere west of the River Parrett.