Which new archeological site has been uncovered in Suffolk?

The faint cropmarks seen from the air at Stoke-by-Claire Picture: Damian Grady, Historic England

The faint cropmarks seen from the air at Stoke-by-Claire Picture: Damian Grady, Historic England - Credit: Archant

The summer heatwave has helped to unearth Suffolk’s ancient past, with crop marks caused by warm weather revealing a new historic settlement at Stoke-by-Clare.

Crop marks in the area, caused by the dry soil caused by this summer’s intense heat, have exposed a possible Bronze or Iron age settlement or burial ground.

Crop marks are a marked difference in colour, or height of crops and grass, which can reveal the layouts of buried ditches or walls which once marked out settlements. Due to the intense weather and dry soil, they are becoming increasingly visible by archeologists who survey land from the air leading to a host of new site discoveries across England.

“This is an exceptional opportunity,” said Suffolk archeologist Helen Geake, who was a member of Channel 4’s Time Team.

“Throughout the country we have conditions that we haven’t had for 40 years in this country.

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“That means we need to move fast. This kind of thing comes once in a generation and it’s vital that we find some way to record this.

“These things can be very fragile and it’s vital that we can act fast to record our findings.”

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Grace Campbell, the historic environment records officer at the county council’s archeological department, said that the cropmarks could represent findings from the Bronze Age.

“To the west of Stoke-by-Clare there is a group of cropmarks that are likely to represent Bronze Age burial mounds,” she said.

“It is possible that this new discovery is related to that as there was a lot of activity around there.

“It is very difficult to accurately date a crop mark because you have a very small window of opportunity to survey the site and there is little material evidence available to test.”

Historic England uses aerial photography of crop marks to produce archaeological maps of the sites to help to assess their significance and to help protect them being damaged.

Damian Grady, Historic England aerial reconnaissance manager, said: “This has been one of my busiest summers in 20 years of flying and it is has been very rewarding making discoveries in areas that do not normally reveal crop marks.”

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