Ancient settlement discovered at site of former bus depot

UNEXPECTED FIND Archaeology unit manager Andy Russel and assistant archaeology officer  Emma Anderson from Southampton City Council with some of the Bronze Age finds
UNEXPECTED FIND Archaeology unit manager Andy Russel and assistant archaeology officer Emma Anderson from Southampton City Council with some of the Bronze Age finds

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PREHISTORIC remains have been found at the demolished bus depot in Hilsea.

Experts spotted the late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman pottery and flints, while searching for remains of the Victorian Hilsea Lines.

It comes as First Wessex is building 59 affordable flats at the demolished bus depot.

Archaeologist unit manager Dr Andy Russel said plain pottery indicates people living in Hilsea around 3,000 years ago were not rich.

He said: ‘The pottery all looks pretty local, so that would suggest the people of Hilsea were not very wealthy.

‘They haven’t got any exotic pottery from further afield, or nice jadeite stone axes from Switzerland, which you might find in Stonehenge.

‘It would suggest perfectly normal people living there back in the Bronze Age, perhaps farmers doing a bit of fishing in the waters.

‘The Iron Age and Roman period is typical Wessex-style pottery with lots of crushed flint mixed into it.’

The fragments of flint came from crafted tools.

The archaeologist team from Southampton City Council dug a trench to find prehistoric remains.

But it was near two other trenches, dug to survey the Hilsea Lines, that the flint and pottery was spotted.

The Iron Age and Roman remains date from between 500BC and 100AD, while the Bronze Age finds are around 3,000 years old.

Dr Russel added bone appears not to have survived at the site so the team will not be able to reveal prehistoric Hilsea dwellers’ diet.

He said: ‘We know where medieval Portsmouth is, we know where the dockyard is, what we don’t know is where all the little prehistoric villages were.

‘It adds another spot on the map that helps us work out the early history of Portsmouth and its people.’

Archaeologists will continue their survey for two weeks.

The contractors are preparing for the piled foundations, due to start in September.