A future housing development in west Suffolk has become the focal point of an archaeological project after historical artefacts dating back over 10,000 years were discovered. 

Objects dating back to the Mesolithic period (c.10,000-7,000 BC) as well as the Anglo-Saxon era (c. AD 410-650) have been found at Hopkins Homes' Abbots Vale development in Bury St Edmunds. 

Suffolk County Council’s Archaeology Service has called for further exploration resulting in a joint project between Oxford Archaeology, Hopkins Homes and RPS Consulting.

East Anglian Daily Times: Anglo Saxon pottery found at the siteAnglo Saxon pottery found at the site (Image: Oxford Archaeology/Hopkins Homes)

Since mid-January, the team from Oxford Archaeology has been scouring the site and documenting archaeological remnants ahead of 363-home development at the A134 Rushbrooke Lane, for which Hopkins Homes gained approval at West Suffolk Council’s recent planning committee in March.

Initial archaeological investigations conducted in 2014 and 2022 revealed multi-period remains dating from the Mesolithic (c.10,000-7,000 BC) to the Anglo-Saxon era (c. AD 410-650).

Eight hectares of Abbots Vale is planned for investigation, with the team poised to delve into about six months of exploration.

East Anglian Daily Times: Eight hectares of Abbots Vale is planned for archaeological investigationEight hectares of Abbots Vale is planned for archaeological investigation (Image: Oxford Archaology/Hopkins Homes)

Findings include what is believed to be a Bronze Age barrow or funerary monument, as well as evidence of extensive early Anglo-Saxon activity including Sunken Feature Buildings (SFBs) believed to have served as workshops.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sunken Feature Building (SFB) at the siteSunken Feature Building (SFB) at the site (Image: Oxford Archaeology/Hopkins Homes)

Edward Bathgate, pre-development manager for Hopkins Homes, said: "As a company deeply committed to responsible development and preserving local heritage, we are excited to support this extensive archaeological investigation at Abbots Vale.

"The discoveries made so far highlight the rich history of this area and reaffirm our dedication to working collaboratively with experts from Oxford Archaeology to ensure the proper documentation and protection of these significant finds."

East Anglian Daily Times: A drone view of the siteA drone view of the site (Image: Oxford Archaeology/Hopkins Homes)

Louise Moan, Senior Project Manager for Oxford Archaeology, said: "Overseeing the Abbots Vale dig is a fascinating opportunity.

"Our team is thrilled by the breadth and depth of discoveries so far. Each find adds a layer to the intricate tapestry of Suffolk's history, and we're eager to continue our exploration and share our findings with the community."

Hopkins Homes expects to begin construction on site this summer.