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Roman artefacts discovered at Rainham housing site

One of the Roman kilns found in Orchard Village, Rainham One of the Roman kilns found in Orchard Village, Rainham

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
8:00 AM

Ancient artefacts dating back to Roman times have been found at a housing development.

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Archaeologists working on the regeneration of Orchard Village in Rainham discovered two pots thought to have originated in the late first century and three kilns dating from the third century.

Kilns were a type of oven used to harden objects and it is believed these ones were used by the Romans to make pottery.

The team, who also found farming equipment, realised the pots had broken bases, which has led them to believe they may have been deliberately damaged as part of a ritual.

Dawn McKenzie, Circle Housing’s project manager for Orchard Village, said: “The regeneration of Orchard Village has been all about looking forward to a bright and positive future for our residents.

“But these discoveries are a reminder of the area’s rich history, which should not be forgotten.”

In the 1960s, during the construction of the original Mardyke Estate, Roman materials were discovered.

This led to the naming of two blocks as Roman House and Roman Close.

Helen Hawkins, from Pre-Construct Archaeology, said: “We are very pleased with the prehistoric and Roman findings, which have greatly enhanced our understanding of the use of this area during these periods.

“The pots in particular are significant as they appear to show that the site was occupied even earlier than we previously thought.”

The objects will be handed to the London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre.

The £80million project for Orchard Village began in 2008.

Since then 299 homes have been built and 19 properties renovated.

Work will continue until 2016, when a total of 555 homes will have been created.

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